CABSA was at ... 2009

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Lyn @5th SAHARA Conference. 30/11- 3/12/2009

The 5th SAHARA Conference was the first opportunity I used Twitter to communicate significantly directly from a conference. This technology provides wonderful opportunities, but also challenges me to provide “Info bytes” of 140 characters or less!

Feedback from the conference:
·    On my way to the 5th SAHARA Conference, focusing on social and cultural aspects of the epidemic - will tweet highlights 9:54 AM Nov 30th, 2009 via web

·    HIV awareness, knowledge not enough.Also positive attitudes to prevention measures, pos behaviours becoming pos practices. 2:40 PM Nov 30th, 2009 via mobile web
·    Shisana: Biomed HIV Interventions that work: Male condoms 80–95%; Female condoms 94–97%; PMTCT 92-98%; HAART 60–80%; Male Circumcision – 65% 9:22 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    Little evidence of behaviour change in abstinence microfinance or concurrency interventions–poor programmes, poor science, lack of research? 9:37 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    No Pres Zuma; at another WAD function with Minister of Health. And they did not know this before they printed programs and sent out emails?? 9:58 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    Baronov: The willingness to openly question one's own cultural beliefs and practices is a minimal prerequisite for effective HIV prevention 11:42 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via mobile web
·    Prof Niang: More ethnographic and qualitative research needed to study why things that work technically, do not work on a social level. 11:45 AM Dec 1st, 2009 via mobile web
·   6.2% of girls age 15-17 in Swaziland are already HIV positive, by age 23-25 this is 43%. 32% Malawi 15-17 year olds had sex in last year 2:34 PM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    SONKE:The question is not whether men can change, rather how policies and programs can contribute, accelerate and build on changes we see. 4:27 PM Dec 1st, 2009 via web
·    INERELA+ Address the six evils in faithbased HIV response; shame, stigma, discrimination, denial, inaction and misaction 4:44 PM Dec 1st, 2009 via mobile web
·    Heywood: Avoid dangers of perpetual debates. If deliberation results in policy inertia, then deliberation has become a pointless exercise 9:02 AM Dec 2nd, 2009 via web
· Mulumba; Although key drivers are well known it is important to better understand the distribution of the risk factors within the population 9:34 AM Dec 2nd, 2009 via mobile web

Dr Olive Shisana: Implementation of HIV Prevention interventions that work

Biomed HIV Interventions that work:
-          Male condoms 80–95%;
-          Female condoms 94–97%;
-          PMTCT 92-98%;
-          HAART 60–80%;
-          Male Circumcision – 65%

Behavioral Intervention

-          Strong evidence – Counselling and testing for PLWHA
-          Weak or no evidence – abstinence only interventions; HCT on negative; microfinance; concurrency

Little evidence of behaviour change in abstinence, microfinance, or concurrency interventions. (I wonder if this is because of poor programmes, poor science, lack of research?+

Highly active HIV prevention is the way to go
-          Behavioral change + Biomedical

Other points of Interest

6.2% girls age 15-17yrs in Swaziland are already HIV positive, by age 23-25 this is 43%. 32% Malawian 15-17 year olds had sex in last year 

In many Southern African countries more girls in 20-24 age group from rich backgrounds are HIV positive than from poor areas.

Multiple partners in young girls in Uganda increasing from 1998 to 2005

INERELA+: Address the six evils in faith based HIV response: Shame, Stigma, Discrimination, Denial, Inaction, Misaction

Mucosal cells of inner foreskin is the area where HIV gains entry – not the glans

Structural and contextual factors – from SANAC plan

5.4 million South Africans are HIV+” – In Gauteng 1.55 million people living with HIV; In Durban more people are HIV+ than in Brazil

Urban Informal areas have double the prevalence than formal urban

Caregivers have

-          Uthandolamama – the love of a mother
-          Umquondo kaMama – the mind of a mother

We need to move beyond Afro-Pessimism to concrete action to continuously improve - starting at you own area of responsibility and influence and moving out in ever expanding circles.

The responsibility of prevention is a shared one and there should be no undue burden on those who are aware of their status.

“Over 400 delegates gathered in Midrand, South Africa for the 5th SAHARA Conference recently. Participants came from countries as far afield as India, Pakistan, the US, Germany, and Australia, and from 26 African countries, including Uganda, Togo, Ghana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Gambia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Why this conference?

The SAHARA conference has a very specific focus, the social aspects of HIV – that is the social and cultural aspects of the epidemic (as opposed to the bio-medical ones).
An important feature of the conference is its strong Africa focus. So often, Africa is analysed and spoken about by people outside the continent. A real effort is made to provide a forum for African voices, and for local responses to be highlighted.
The networking opportunities at this conference are thus unique in that it provides a platform for African scholars to interact.


Highlights of the conference followed up on some of the burning issues raised for the first time at previous SAHARA conferences, namely male circumcision. Barely two years later, several countries have started rolling out a programme of male circumcision as part of a package of preventative measures.
Other highlights were presentations on the conflict between scientific discourse and cultural traditions and the need to identify cultural practices that might be beneficial o HIV prevention. Prof. Cheick Niang of Senegal pointed out that the cultural interpretation of HIV was more complicated than generally assumed as culture plays an important role.”
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Lyn @ National Consultation Of Churches And Christian Organisations In Response To The Plight Of OVCs. 5-6/11/2009

 I took my first steps in using Twitter during this conference - the 'tweets' are immediately available on Twitter at lyn4caris as well as the front page of the website:

My Tweets from the Conference were only via the Twitter website at this stage:

·    At National Consultation Of Churches And Christian Organisations In Response To The Plight Of OVCs. Will submit highlights 8:44 AM Nov 5th, 2009 via web
·    Should a mother live or die due to a ‘luck factor’ – being on treatment or not? Are we involved enough in advocacy for universal access? 10:19 AM Nov 5th, 2009 via web
·    From the presentation by Dr Elijah Mahlangu – 530 children are raped in South Africa per day, only 60 of these are reported. 11:37 AM Nov 5th, 2009 via web
·    Dr Connie Kganakga The only way to address anger in our society is to provide for nurturing a child– a child cannot be nurtured by a grant! 10:35 AM Nov 6th, 2009 via web
· Robert Botha: In South Africa the poor are looking after the destitute while we are living comfortable lives and always ask for more 12:07 PM Nov 6th, 2009 via web

More on the Conference from the James !:27 Trust website, where you can also access extensive documentation on the conference

In April 2008, the National Initiative for the Reformation of South Africa (NIRSA) was launched, the purpose of which was to chart a map for the reformation agenda for the country and to consolidate the battle facing the giants as identified at SACLA II. 

The NIRSA declaration marks a historic document setting out the battle plan for the body of Christ in bringing a “rebirth of hope, faith, confidence and renewed vision of what our nation can be under God”.

In particular, the NIRSA declaration in response to the orphans and vulnerable children crisis states: “We resolve to explore how the church, along with the government and appropriate NGO’s can embrace in a new way the huge challenges before our nation of dealing with the poor, marginalised and destitute, most especially orphans, widows and refugees. One logical extension of this concern is for Christian couples to be open in new ways to adopting orphans”.

In order to give practical expression to the above mandate, NIRSA in collaboration with the James 1:27 Trust has taken up the challenge of arranging a National Consultation. The Consultation has been constructed around 4-key sessions, each having subject matter experts working within a team to prepare a draft document which will be circulated to all delegates before the event. Delegates will be able to make an input and an edited draft will be tabled for further consultation. The intention is to use the actual 2-day event to focus on some of the more difficult and challenging issues. The hope is that by October much of the substance will already have been covered by the delegates and that the actual consultation will result in a final document which will enjoy broad consensus.



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Lyn @ the 32nd General Assembly of the ICW 16/10/2009

In October 2009, the 32nd General Assembly of the International Council of Women was hosted by the National Council of Women in South Africa. As part of the activities, they asked Lyn to chair and help organise a full day seminar on the topic “Caring for Women and Children Living with AIDS”

 The following reports were part of NCW news, the Journal of the National Council of Women, Volume 79, Number 1, published in March 2010.

Feedback from Participants

Our Seminar on “Woman and children suffering from HIV/AIDS” chaired by Lyn van Rooyen of CARIS, the Christian AIDS Resource and information Service, was a revelation to most of us, and there were many tears. Many of those attending took a pledge to assist AIDS victims in the future.

Jeanne Luyt, SA NCW President

The excellent presentation of the numerous top speakers at the seminar touched the audience. The emotion was real when speakers mentioned personal experiences.

Cosima Schenk-Incoming President

Participants were stimulated by informative lectures and discussion of important issues for women. I congratulate NCW South Africa on the Seminar addressing issues relating to HIV/AIDS. The high standard of speakers put this important issue in perspective.

Dame Judith A Parker - a returning board member from Australia.

The day spent with well-informed speakers on HIV/AIDS was inspiring. To know that the passion and knowledge of so many must surely bring solutions, and is a large step forward.

Elizabeth Bank – New Zealand

A major seminar on the subject of HIV/AIDS, and its effects on women both as carers and victims, was arranged in South Africa as part of the Conference. 1000 people die every day in South Africa as a result of AIDS. Many informative contributions came from groups, both black and white, working in this field, together with many health experts, speaking on subjects such as “Stigma and Attitudes”, “Reality of living with HIV/AIDS”, “HIV, Gender and Violence” and “Mother to child transmission”. The need to persuade people to take the antiretroviral drugs, which can help against the disease, particularly in children, is a constant struggle, as there is some local mistrust that medicine can in fact make the disease worse. The role of women as Carers is vital, although many are also victims of the disease, and many widows and older women are left to care for orphans with little support. The related questions of domestic violence, and of women and rape were also included.

Report to ECICW members from Grace Wedekind, ECICW President.

At the Gala dinner - Janet Louis, SA NCW President; Jackie Reymann; Jeanne Luyt; Cosima Schenk, incoming president ICW, Lyn van Rooyen

Report on Seminar and presentations

By Mrs Vera Oosthuizen, Methodist Women’s Auxiliary

The venue was ideal, as the hotel is in spacious grounds away for the city. Despite the horrendous state of the roads and the volume of traffic – let alone the standard of driving – the hotel is accessible within reasonable travel time, and parking available at the conference centre.

Delegates were seated at long tables – the public address system operated well and clear laptop presentations were made. Tea was available in the foyer, served by pleasant and efficient waitresses. Excellent lunches were served in one of the many restaurants. The comfort of the ± 200 delegates was of prime importance.

The president of ICW, Dr Anamah Tan, welcomed delegates and dedicated the seminar to the late Shirley-Anne Munyan who was a loyal supporter of the Council. Several tributes were paid.

Another welcome visitor was one of our members, an Appeal Court Judge, Sharmin Ebrahim, who had driven all the way from Bloemfontein to spend an evening with us before attending the Seminar.

Ms Lyn van Rooyen, Programme Manager, CARIS (Christian AIDS Resource and Information Service), in the Chair, set the scene for the speakers, who among them have many awards and distinctions. Each speaker promised to make a difference to people affected by HIV/AIDS. It is necessary to move from head knowledge to lip knowledge and to make our voices heard. Delegates had the opportunity to join in a pledge to make a difference in their communities.

Professor Glenda Gray – Director of Perinatal HIV research unit, Associate Professor of Paediatrics.

Theme: Paediatrics and SA Aid Vaccine Initiative – the Impact of HIV on Woman and children in South Africa.

When Professor Gray started research of HIV, three women in 100 were infected. This rapidly became three in 10. Most deaths in hospitals are due to HIV/AIDS, which is no longer an exotic disease. The Government has not been good at acknowledging the disease, so woman especially, took the Government to task and managed to obtain anti-retroviral medicine.

Globally, two million children are living with HIV. There is a slow decline in the death rate because of the availability of ARV medicines. Among adults, HIV is found in al professions and walks of life. In one year, 4000 teachers died, and there is also much absenteeism. In South Africa, the psychological/economic ramifications are very serious and here the infant mortality rate is increasing. For women being tested and taking the correct medicine the tide is turning. However, TB (especially the drug-resistant type) is on the rise.

The cost to South Africa is 4 billion dollars, with 900 million dollars spent on medicines and vaccine research. It takes many years to produce the necessary vaccines for various diseases. No vaccine is 100% effective, as it must act as rapidly as the infector, which is very rapid in HIV. The vaccine must also be diverse to cover the diversity of HIV. No person is ever cleared of HIV infection. In 1999, Eskom and the Department of Health funded HIV vaccines. No animal carriers were used for testing, as this must involve adolescents, a very difficult undertaking. They form 1/5 of the world population, with 85% living in developing countries. For nursing mothers, the vaccine must be administered for the duration of breastfeeding. HIV was identified in the 1980’s and the drug AZT was widely used in 1993.

Science is very important in the control and cure of HIV. In Mother-to-Child Transmission (MTCT) the risk of transmission depends on the level of the disease, whether it is in-utero or at delivery or during breastfeeding. African mothers face the deaths of their babies through either breastfeeding or the onset of acute diarrhoea from whatever food is available. An infected woman loses her immunity and treatment therapy is too late at birth.

How can women/mothers help to minimize or eradicate HIV? Many women are already infected and also caring for HIV families. These women still need to lobby government and have political commitment. Sadly, research favours other epidemics and diseases. There is also social resistance to ARV drugs – patients fear the stigma. Research must be ongoing. Mauritius, the Seychelles and South Africa are the only African countries to contribute towards research.

Charlene Smith – Journalist and Author:

Subject: Surviving rape and HIV

The global situation for women is worsening. Charlene paid tribute to Fran Cleaton-Jones (Advisor: Child, Family and Youth) who lobbied repeatedly for DNA database, as rapists are always involved in other crimes. In this country, policing and rape care is minimal. If the world relied on politicians we would still be in skins and hunting.

There is power in each one of us. We are helpless until we act, insignificant until we step forward. No one can hear us until we speak. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world” We become extraordinary when we achieve impossible goals. We must acknowledge events, try to go forward, be positive, believe in ourselves, and the human spirit and have courage. A sense of humour is important, as is humility. We must never discriminate, as that exposes insecurity. An attitude of gratitude should prevail with an awareness of the planet, which we should then protect for our children. Only then can we cope with rape. Gang rape is perpetrated 40% of the time, so immediate testing for HIV is imperative. As a rape victim, Charlene was the first person to agitate for ARV medication. Too little is done to extend treatment and care to rape victims, especially as regards the side effects. The stigma attached to rape means that women receive no support, especially from other woman. Fewer than 3% of rapists are convicted. Why is there no campaign against rape?

Concern for physical health come first, eg testing for HIV and Hepatitis B. Psychological counseling is not the immediate necessity, and can follow when the victim is ready. Local police officers are ignorant of interview techniques and often don’t visit the scene at all. Police intervention is lacking, so no arrests are made despite 6-8 rape cases each week. Very low statistics are recorded because of poor policing.

Rape may very well be the result of increased drinking by young women. Rape also results in 20% of reported HIV. In South Africa, 1 in 4 men admitted rape, some repeatedly. Fewer than 15% of reports results in arrest, fewer than 3% in conviction.

“Protecting women and girls is how we protect the world” – Sarah Brown. The first post-rape protection is ARV medication to prevent HIV, and medication to prevent pregnancy. The second is to know the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome (vomiting, pain, weight loss then gain, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, addictive behavior). Then we must move on and not remain locked in the rape.

Professor Ezra Chitando – EHAIA (Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa) programme Of World Council of Churches.

Subject: Stigma and Attitudes

“It is better to build boy than to repair me.” A social vaccine is needed to build better boys and men. The story is told of a little boy called Doubt, who was HIV positive and dying. His death started and initiative to turn doubt into hope. Another story, in the Bible, tells of a huge crowd being fed. It numbered 5000 not counting women and children. Even then, men had n perspective and interests apart from men. Yet HIV statistics include women and children. They are counted. They are counted too as carriers, survivors and volunteer workers. Grannies also have roles as carers though they may not know where the next meal is coming from. HIV has instigated an epidemic of stigma and condemnation. “What did she do that she now has HIV? What did she do to deserve that? The victim lives a life of silence, secrecy, shame, hopelessness and despair. Her gender is against her. It is already difficult to be a woman in an African patriarchal culture, especially if she has the “woman’s disease”. As hard as it is to be a woman, it is doubly difficult to be Black. Africa is politically and economically poor.

Life is a struggle for an orphaned child living with adults in the role of parents. Government help is slow and erratic. Politicians don’t count women and children except for voting. Ministers of the Church don’t count women and children except as bodies to fill churches, employers except to fill quotas. Where would the world, and Africa, be without women and children? They must become the part of the community that count, have a sense of responsibility and enter into strategic partnerships. The mothers must grow the boys into men that count.

There is now a fatigue about the HIV/AIDS problem. But we cannot afford to be tired. Ahead is a long winding road, but we cannot afford to give up.



Ms Toni Zimmerman – Individual living with HIV

Topic: Challenging assumptions of who is vulnerable

“Look at me! I’m 42 and have had HIV for 20 years. That doesn’t open up any dating possibilities.”

Toni is the eldest daughter of an Afrikaans preacher living in a small town. At the age of 22 she found herself HIV positive, not married, pregnant and without a partner. He deserted her.

The first ten years of illness were years of breakdown, with everything lost. Toni had known nothing of HIV, and indeed nothing of life.  At that time there was no treatment for the disease in South Africa. The emotional battle started with having to tell her parents, and Toni’s father just said, “What can we do?” knowing that the stigma is more killing than the virus. Toni’s mother blamed herself. Toni had no medicine through the pregnancy and birth and the little boy was diagnosed as HIV positive. In 1996, Toni became ill and prepared her family for her death. The next year her 7 year-old son died. Suffering HIV was not as bad as losing her child. Things were not good, with no work, no partner and no son. The family suffered, afraid that Toni would succumb because she wasn’t fighting for life.

Then Toni started dancing classes, Latin American and ballroom, and entered the world championship. The second ten years of living with HIV were years of recovery. An ARV drug programme was started, leading to good health and work opportunities. Women have issues – self-image, self-confidence and self-esteem. Toni couldn’t look in a mirror because of a side effect of ARV treatment – fat in the body. This caused deep depression, as her work entailed travel and overnight stays in hotel rooms lined with mirrors. A huge reality check forced Toni to make decisions. Would she remain depressed or become grateful for her health? She learned to groom herself, look in the mirror and say, “You’re OK!”

Toni is blessed with having education, her parents, her work and medical aid. So she must give hope to women who face walls and teach healthy living and the rights of women. Thanks to science she will survive another ten years.

Mrs Emily Tjale

Subject: Caring for HIV at grassroots

Emily’s family – brother, sister and nieces – has HIV. It is important to disclose the status in order to seek help and possible treatment. Child-headed families have no property rights as these are taken over by the adult family members. The women have to act as social workers and caregivers and mothers. Physical setbacks are enormous, with people having to walk ± 5km for water, which is then paid for. Local leaders scorn the caregivers, calling them names. Referrals to clinics and health professionals are not honoured.

Emily runs an academy for caregivers. Even then she was told that the cost of attending this ICW Assembly could feed 5 families. Caregivers need women (especially white women) to lobby Government, though it is essential to have relevant information and statistics. The United Nations Assembly approved a resolution to make caregivers professional workers.

Ms Carol Dyanti – Ikageng Itireleng AIDS Ministry

Topic: Practical support of children affected by HIV in Soweto

“No man stands as tall as he who stops to help a child” Greek proverb

“Nothing pays more dividends than attending to the needs of the child” Nelson Mandela

The impact on the child affected by HIV is mainly psycho-emotional. There is the loss of the family unit. There may be no schooling because he is caring for the family. Constant trauma is suffered because of the ongoing infection through the family. The child is moved from home to home as each ne family is infected. A great lack of communication exists between parents and teenagers with the result that young girls are not receiving sex education, and pregnancies occur. Grannies are bewildered, as they live by their own standards of the past.

Programmes designed to help children are facing the loss of funding, as psychological needs, are not seen as important by donors. Money is required to supply physical, education and cultural support. Children have a right to protection, spiritual upliftment, and education, health care, nutrition and family preservation. The last is the right of parents as well along with housing assistance and participation in awareness campaigns and social upliftment. In other words, the spirit and values of UBUNTU.

“Race Against Time” by Stephen Lewis is recommended reading.

Dr Adrienne Wulfsohn – Family Medicine, University of Witwatersrand

Theme: Domestic Violence – The Silent Epidemic

Domestic violence is a greater epidemic than any other. Statistics reveal that one in two children will be sexually abused, and one in three boy children. Adrienne herself survived domestic assault for twelve years. This involved rape, verbal/financial/psychological abuse. She was unable to stop it and allowed abuse to her child. She was also too embarrassed to report it.

Domestic violence occurs and can take the form of verbal, emotional and/or physical abuse, sexual intimidation and stalking. If reported, police may advise against a court case. There is now a Domestic Violence Act and a Child Care Act, also Child Justice.

Adrienne’s husband threatened the family, including children aged 7 years and 16 months respectively, and displayed a firearm. This threat occurred in 2007 and there has been no police action at all since then. Officialdom doesn’t help, as court hours are 9h00 – 12h00 and 14h00 – 15h00. The court must ensure that the Domestic violence Act fits the circumstances. The police have certain duties to fulfill – currently there are more than 95 000 reported cases, each needing compulsory HIV testing, services to the victims of trauma and enrolment on the sexual register (if appropriate). Adrienne’s case took eight months to process to the final order. The Child Care Act is not yet fully operational and a child may have to testify in front of the perpetrator. Education is needed so that police and officers of the court can carry out their duties properly.

Dr Carol Hofmeyr – Keiskamma Trust, Eastern Cape

Topic: Confrontic AIDS and poverty with Art in a small Eastern Cape Community.

The Keiskamma River mouth is in a beautiful part of the country. Sadly the harshness of life there results in 2 to 3 funerals each week. Poverty there means not knowing where the next meal is coming from, having furniture and possessions put out by the local council and a husband with no job. The only riches are cattle. Carol showed slides of a tapestry created by the local women depicting the history of the area including the conquest of the Xhosa nation by the British. This tapestry was exhibited by the National Arts Festival and now hangs in the Parliament building. All art appeals to people in a way that nothing else can.

Another tapestry is based on the Issenheim Altar triptych, which depicts the dying Christ. In the modern version, a Xhosa woman is the centre of the altarpiece – a dying AIDS victim. The Issenheim figures were victims of plague, with the 21st century deaths attributed to AIDS. Women embroidered scenes of good times and happy events in the community, also forms of worship, funerals (very important in their culture) and gravestones. This tapestry, 6m x 4.5m was exhibited on World Aids Day and also in St James Cathedral, Toronto.

Disease, especially HIV, cannot be treated if poverty is nearby. Woman want help for the men who stay at home and drink and beat their wives. There is a need to train and change men, starting with the child.

Ms Thembe Shongwe – Shiselweni Home-Based Care Programme, Swaziland

Subject: Caring for people living with HIV in low resource setting. Challenges of people living with HIV – Mother to Child transmission and stigma

Thembe told a personal story of the work being done by 500 trained carers, many infected with HIV. They ask no recognition for the work they do, sharing food and clothing and holding the hands of the sick people. Their motivation is “love thy neighbor” and they share with the have-nots. Under-resourcing is in the households and there is never a complete set of requirements. A bed-bath became a floor-bath with now towel or rags available, certainly no medicine, gloves, linen or soap. Health services are not available at all hours or even accessible – a visit to the clinic costs R100. There is no clean water, wood for fires must be fetched, and even food such as fruit is subject to the seasons. The resources are the women with their selflessness, dedication, laughter, music and sharing of everything. They have learned the lesson that the disease is for everyone, not just prostitutes. The “vision and the mission” of Shiselweni is to be the hands and feet of Christ in the community. Poor people are unselfish, giving time and knowledge, using whatever is available, begging and borrowing. Worthy care is family involvement, though political and traditional leadership must be included.

Mother to Child transmission is a major concern. Childbirth and care of the infant take part within the extended family, especially where polygamy is practiced. The mother has to accept the situation, and turn to the elderly people for counseling. However, the community needs to be educated that HIV is not the disease of witchcraft. The stigma of having HIV results in sufferers isolating themselves, being excluded by other people. Women lose their conjugal rights, are forbidden to touch food and face hostility from other wives. The only hope is treatment and encouragement to persevere.

“Women, walk on fast, you’re on the right track”



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Nelis and Lyn @ Understanding and Mainstreaming HIV & AIDS-Competence For Churches 10/09

Nelis reports: 

From 12-15 October, 2009, Lyn and Nelis attended the consultation on “Understanding and mainstreaming HIV & Aids-competence for churches” in Nairobi, Kenya. This consultation has been organised by EHAIA (Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa – World Council of Churches) Southern & Eastern Africa.The group
For four days participants representing the following organisations met: Family Health International- Regional Technical Advisor for Children and Youth (Africa), Fikelela AIDS Project-Anglican Diocese of Cape Town, The Constellation, CORAT Africa, EHAIA Eastern Africa Region, PACANET, FECCLAHA, African Christian Health Association Platform, CUAHA, CARIS, FECCLAHA, All Africa Conference of Churches, World Council of Churches, DIFAEM, Kenya Competence Trust, Southern African Research Council, FOCCISA, Heythrop College, CABSA, United Bible Societies Africa, UNERELA+, EHAIA Southern Africa Region, Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya, St Pauls University, Organisation of African Instituted Churches, Nazarene Compassionate Organisation.
Space was created to listen to numerous stories from participants and organisations.Learning about SALT in KithutuniThese were complemented by a field visit to a community programme facilitated by the Salvation Army in Kithutuni .All participants were deeply touched by the courage, strength and hope of the HIV action group they met.
You can read a report on the visit from the AIDS Constellation here.
 Discussions during the consultation focussed on the following aspects of HIV competence:
  • A definition of HIV competent congregations
  • Approach to HIV competence
  • Measurement of HIV competence
  • Scale
  • Addressing issues and drivers of the epidemic
  • Faith context
  • Service and systems

Continuous discussion on the different aspects of HIV competent congregations resulted in very stimulating guidelines for taking up the challenge to grow to be compassionate HIV competent communities.

All participants agreed that the consultation challenged them to take lessons learned to their own organisations and programmes and to find ways of implementing what they have learned.

 It was not all serious work! Ricardo kept everyone awake and invlolved and even inspired Lyn, Marai and April to be an elephant!

Lyn, Marian and April



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Nonceba @ bua@AC - 09/2009

The AIDS Consortium is a human rights organisation aimed at promoting a non discriminatory response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic based on people’s basic human rights as enshrined in South Africa’s constitution. Through capacity building, networking, information dissemination and community engagement programs, The AIDS Consortium helps CBOs NGOs, FBOs and individuals coordinate and strengthen their response to HIV and AIDS in their communities.

AC has monthly forums or sessions called bua@AC, these sessions encourage networking, comradeship and skills transfer, debates and discussions that challenge the myths, beliefs and behaviours that continue to drive incidence, human rights violations and stigma and discrimination. Being part of these meetings is such a mind blowing experience; especially because you get to hear from other people, their experiences and challenges but you also hear of success stories.

Nonceba reports that the theme for the month was Monitoring & Evaluation of programmes.

This month’s focus was on measuring the work that we do in our communities and how successful are we in making sure that we are achieving our goals. So this month’s bua session was challenging organisations and showing them the importance of monitoring and evaluating their projects or programmes.

They also introduced a program called  SOWETO CARE SYSTEM database software, which is designed to facilitate administration of NPOs, focussing on home-based care, orphans and vulnerable children, and voluntary counselling and testing. Clients, employees, home-visits, client needs and programs can be entered and updated, and comprehensive reports for management and donors are easily generated. The system is easy to use and flexible

About the HEROES Campaign

The “HEROES campaign” is an AIDS Consortium initiative responding to the negative perception of classifying HIV and AIDS as an outcome of sexual excess and low moral character. This campaign is a call to prominent people to ‘come out’ and normalise HIV, hence the campaign pay off line – HIV…share your journey. This month’s hero Mettah Nyathi who is a traditional healer who has been living with HIV for more than four years. As a traditional healer,  being HIV positive herself, she sees her role in her community as that of bridging the gap between traditional and western ways of healing. She has been on ARV therapy for more than two years and is a witness to what ARVs can achieve – “There is no traditional medicine that can treat HIV, but ARV work – they boost the immune system” she says. Mettah is very determined to drive more collaboration between traditional healers, NGOs and clinic in her community!

This month’s hero sparked an intensive debate during the session on ARV’s and traditional medicine, unfortunately she wasn’t present at the meeting because she couldn’t miss the bus to go fetch her monthly medication from the clinic.

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Lyn @ OM/Pro Christo Missions Conference. 8/09

CABSA realises that missionaries, especially those in Africa and Asia, have a specific need to be “HIV competent” and to deal with the challenges HIV poses in their work. 

CABSA uses various opportunities to make this group aware of the services we provide that can support and equip them in their often very challenging work. 

CABSA was for the second year represented at the Missionsfest in Pretoria, and also placed advertisements in the Missionsfest magazine. We use our relationship with the Christian Literature Fund to advertise to users of their catalogue, many of whom are involved in missions work. 

In August, CABSA was for the first time represented at the PRO Christo/OM Missions Conference in Kabwe in Zambia.

More than 500 missionaries and organisations from Africa and abroad used every minute of the three and a half days to equip themselves to do their work as well as possible.

Nico and Alma Leonard, trained CoH facilitators from AIDS Hope South Africa presented a lively and well-attended introductory HIV workshop.

Lyn van Rooyen, representing CABSA, speaks of the eagerness of especially the Zambians to learn.  “There was a huge amount of interest in our stall and so many requests for Channels of Hope training, or any resources.  The booklets I took were hopelessly inadequate.  We also had a number of applications for resource packs.”

This interest from people and organisations which might not otherwise hear of CABSA, emphasised the importance of CABSA’s representation and participation at a diverse range of events.

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Tunde at The International Conference on Missions in Cameroon. 8/09

Channels of Hope facilitator, 'Tunde Fowe, represented CABSA in Cameroon in August 2009

The weather was unusually bright and traffic unexpectedly light when I made my way to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Wednesday the 5th of August, 2009 for a planned trip to Douala in Cameroon for an International Conference on Missions. The flight this bright afternoon was a combined flight to Douala, Cameroon and Libreville, Gabon and it was the only one flying the route that day. As expected, it was full to capacity. I was pretty fortunate to get a seat on this “overbooked” flight.

When I got to the airport, it became obvious to me that apart from those of us who were going for a short trip or probably returning from a conference in Nigeria, this flight was a choice flight for Nigerian businessmen who have interests in the West Africa sub-region. I could tell this from the heavy luggages that were being checked in at the counter.

Time was short, so I made my way quickly through the immigration to the boarding gate and then onto the plane. The less than two hours flight afforded me the opportunity to take a well-deserved nap in the middle of a “crazy” week. The bright clouds completed the picture and I had a sweet dream. I dreamt of a transformed Africa. I dreamt of a continent freed from the shackles of systemic poverty, gender discrimination and social injustice. I dreamt of empowered communities that could adequately respond to the issues of drought and massive erosions. Sweetest of all, I dreamt of a continent where HIV and AIDS was no longer a challenge. In the midst of this came the voice of the captain over the loudspeakers, instructing the cabin crew to prepare us for landing. I felt upset. I wished the flight were longer. Before I could think of a way back into my dream, the plane landed at the Douala International Airport.

BernardWe were welcomed at the airport by a young vibrant man by the name of Bernard. I got to learn that there were three of us from Nigeria on that flight who were headed for the conference. The first is an American professor teaching in a Nigerian University, the other a pastor of a Church in central Lagos and my humble self. We were huddled into a saloon car and started off a four-hour journey to Yaounde, the Cameroonian capital where the conference was billed to hold.  

The conference started off on that Thursday morning on the campus of the Protestant University in Yaounde on a beautiful note, with participants streaming in from all over Cameroon. The conference was attended by over Participants200 persons who are pastors, missionaries and evangelists. We learnt this is the first time that Protestants and Pentecostals would meet together under the same roof. This we believe is a new beginning for the Church in Cameroon. This first day featured talks from different speakers (only one delivered his talk in English, the others in French) on the theme of the Conference, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields…” (John 4:35).

I was originally billed to speak that first day but due to an unfortunate mix-up, it did not happen. So, my talk was shifted to the next day (8:30-10:00am). Friday morning came and I mounted the dais. I started off by introducing CABSA and what she does. Next, I sampled the understanding of the participants on the subject of HIV and AIDS and its mode of transmission. I got some enlightened responses, but there was one that elicited a mixture of shock and laughter. A pastor who incidentally is a “deliverance minister” explained that HIV is a spell cast on a person or family. He went on to recall a vivid experience he had while “ministering deliverance” to an entire family including a newly-born child that was afflicted by this spell, leaving the man of the house dead. The climax of his story was when he described what happened during the “deliverance session”. He claimed that the “demon” responsible for this spell called HIV spoke up through a family member and identified itself. The demon, according to him, was promptly dealt with and cast out thus leaving the other members of the family safe from further afflictions. I realised that there was still an entrenched ignorance about HIV and its transmission even in that audience.

Next, I asked them to describe their feelings and reactions to the word, AIDS. I got some very horrible expressions like, “the worst kind of sin”, “reward for marital unfaithfulness”, “a just punishment from God” and so on. I was however glad when two participants mentioned words like, “compassion” and “dignity”.

This set the stage for me to do the “hypothetical scenario” exercise. Because of the large number, I demarcated the hall into three, introduced my three potential patients to them and asked them to “vote” for any of them as they deemed fit by moving to the corner designated for the names. After each round, I asked for opinions from those who moved and those who did not. Though it was not an ideal setting, the exercise surfaced a number of assumptions and ingrained prejudices.

I rounded off the session with a brief talk based on John 4 (where the Conference theme was drawn), on the encounter of Jesus with the woman of Samaria. I pointed out that Jesus broke a number of barriers to minister to that woman by the well. He broke a racial barrier (Judah and Samaria), a religious barrier (Jewish and Samaritan), a gender barrier (man and woman), a moral barrier (a righteous religious leader and a “prostitute”) and a social barrier (a respected personality and a “recluse”). I briefly showed how Jesus broke these existing barriers and prejudices and challenged them as religious leaders to do the same in the context of HIV and AIDS.

The scene that followed is better experienced than explained. An atmosphere of sobriety and calmness fell upon the hall as the leaders went before God in repentance. I called on a Church leader to round off the session in prayer. I felt much fulfilled after the session especially as I saw people who came to ask me more about CABSA and expressing their desire to become better equipped to adequately respond to the issues of HIV and AIDS on their return home.

My impression is that it was a good thing CABSA got involved in this epoch-making conference. There’s no doubting the fact that this is a good investment in the Cameroon Church.

My return journey back home is an experience I do not wish to recall. I missed my flight due to no fault of mine, was virtually stranded in Douala, and was left at the mercy of touts. Thankfully, there was another flight 26 hours after on Saturday. The return trip appeared to take longer than the previous one. The “ride” was bumpy. I felt uncomfortable putting on the same clothes I wore the previous day. I was tired but dared not sleep. I wanted to monitor the flight so that it does not take me beyond my destination. This time I could not dream.

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Lyn @ When Religion and Health Align: Mobilizing Religious Health Assets for Transformation. 13-16/7/09

PDF icon final november newsletter.pdf1.38 MB

From 13 – 16 July Lyn attended a conference presented by the African Religious Health Assets Programme (ARHAP).

The papers and presentations of  this thought provoking conference is available  here . You can read more about the conference in the attached newsletter.

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Christian AIDS Taskforce @ CARIS.07/09



Greeting in the wonderful name of our Lord.

My visit to CARIS South Africa was very short yet fruitful I learnt a lot and was encouraged in what I was doing. It was a learning and refreshing curve for me. I learnt some new things and reminded on what I knew. 

Lessons Learnt.

·        Monitoring and evaluating. I realized that the log sheet was a good way of monitoring and evaluating. The way my log sheet is designed, it’s effective on statics and aspects like client expectations are left out. I had numbers but did know how many found the information they were looking for and vice versa.
·        Downloading information from the net. I realized that you have to buy appropriate gestates i.e. when buying I have to consider what it will used for and if it will be effective etc. It will be a bit slow using dial up.
·        The importance of a collection policy: It helps you to realize what is good to have and the must have material.
·        The importance of involving local partners by these I mean companies/ people who have services or things that I need e.g. printing, photocopying, etc these can be asked to donate their services or what they have.
·        A Resource Room Advisory Committee representing the users of the Resource Centre as well as representatives of the organization it is linked to. To help ensure that the Centre meets the needs of its users.
·        As the Resource Centre we must have a mission and a vision not necessarily the CAT one. It does not mean that we are now independent of the mother body. The vision and mission guides us as a centre.
·        CARIS has a good classification scheme which is user friendly. Lyn said she doesn’t mind us adapting it.

Other Business

·        To help me she also printed out a manual on Planning and Managing a HIV and AIDS Resource Centre in Faith based Settings. The points I highlighted are explained in depth in the manual which I find user friendly as well.
·        Being in CARIS as the Resource Room Officer I managed to get some book from Lyn. She allowed me to go through some of her material and choose the ones I would like. She downloaded about 100 books for me on CD.
·        She also ordered some material over the net which will be sent to CARIS and we will collect from her.

She was a great help and inspiration to me.


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Lyn @ Come Let Us Reason Together. 7/09

From 6-8 July 2009 Lyn and Board member Rev Johan Pieters attended “Come Let Us Reason Together”, organised by Norwegian Church AID, which brought together a group of stakeholders in a consultation on the issues of boys, men and masculinity.

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Nonceba @ Prescription for Life in Soweto. 06/09

“Prescription for Life” - Advocacy by children in Soweto

Nonceba Ravuku 

About “Prescription for Life” 

Young people around the world are being encouraged to take action to help children living with HIV through an action guide launched on Universal Children’s Day, 20 November.

The guide, “Prescription for Life” provides information and resources for schools, families, faith groups and communities to empower young people to write letters to pharmaceutical companies and governments to improve testing and treatment for infants and children living with HIV. 

Writing letters

I had an amazing time on the 4 June 2009, a school allowed Paul Jeffrrey and myself to come in and take photos of the kids writing letters to the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoeledi requesting improved treatment and facilitities for children living with HIV. This was an amazing session with the Grade 7s from Isaacson Primary School in Rockville, Soweto. 

The previous week I went to the same class to have dialogue with the teenagers on HIV and challenges children who are infected and affected by HIV face in their communities and at school. I was amazed by the vigilance, honesty and willingness to be involved in programs that would make their environment and communities a better place. 

I was also saddened by the burden that these kids carry in their homes and schools, how desperate they are to see change in their communities. 

So writing letters to the Minister of Health was such a motivation for them, knowing that they may make a difference in somebody else’s life.

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Nonceba at AIDS Consortium Gauteng BUA. 06/09

AIDS Consortium Gauteng BUA Meeting Report – June 2009

Nonceba Ravuku

HIV and Youth – Multiple Concurrent Partnerships

On the 2nd June, the Gauteng bua@AC session was looking at Multiple Concurrent Partnerships as seen by the youth and how this contributes to the spread of HIV in our country. I was impressed by the large number of young people who attended this session. The participation of both youth and the elderly help them to understand the real issues facing them in their communities and households. It made it easier for both parties to come up with solutions and ideas on how to take responsibility of their own relationships and on decreasing the infections of HIV. 

Young people were given a platform to share their concerns and pressures they face in schools and community. 

Young people also stressed that poverty and peer pressure are factors that increase the risk of infection in their community and they ask their parents and teachers to start finding easier and effect ways of communicating with them. 

June AIDS Consortium’s Heroin Ms Tender Mavundla addressed young people and shared her experiences of living with HIV and choices young people make to have a better life or a life of luxury, that puts them at risk of HIV infection.  

About the HEROES Campaign

The “HEROES campaign” is an AIDS Consortium initiative responding to the negative perception of classifying HIV and AIDS as an outcome of sexual excess and low moral character. This perception discourages disclosure and fuels stigma and discrimination.

This campaign aims to challenge stigma and discrimination on the basis of one’s HIV status by encouraging discussion and disclosure. 

About bua@AC

“bua” is a Sotho word meaning “talk”; it was commonly used at activists’ meetings in the apartheid struggle. When one was making a valid point and the supporters wanted to support his/her statement, they would just say “bua”, which encouraged freedom of expression. These sessions also encouraged networking, comradeship and skills transfer. This epitomises the AC monthly meetings, hence – bua@AC.

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Lyn, Nelis and Nonceba @ 4th SA AIDS Conference. 4/09

When Lyn attended the bi-annual South African AIDS Conference in Durban for the first time in 2005, she was shocked to find that there were only three references to FBO’s in the whole thick book with abstracts of the conference papers – and two of them were “church bashing”!

Since then CABSA played an important role in improving the visibility of FBO’s at the AIDS conference.

In 2007 a satellite meeting was organised which focused on FBO’s. 

This year we went even further: In conjunction with Norwegian Church Aid and the South African Council of Churches, an Interfaith Pre-conference Session was organised which dealt with HIV-competent faith communities. Various papers were delivered and the session culminated in a statement which was read at the main conference. To date 172 individuals and organisations supported the statement.

At the session papers were read by Dr Sue Parry and prof Ezra Chitando of EHAIA and the WCC; Prof Farid Esack, UJ and Positive Muslims, and dr. Vuyani Willem, SACC.

The papers and discussions did not shy away from difficult issues, for instance: the lack of information on what is happening at local level; the lack of focussing on African Indigenous Faith Communities and the need for some interreligious  dialogue.   

Both the satellite session, at a cost of R35 000, and an interfaith exhibition at the conference, at a cost of R25 000, were sponsored by Compass Foundation, which indicates an increasing awareness of the role of FBO’s in the fight against AIDS.

 The exhibition was visited by a large number of people, of whom 121 registered for the CARIS monthly newsletter.

CABSA was well represented by staff (Nonceba, Lyn and Nelis), board members (Andri Kilian and Desmond Lambrechts) and a number of Regional Representatives: Louis Peterson (Western Cape), Ann Mary Gatigha (KZN), Vhumani Magezi (Zimbabwe), Estelle Heideman (Free State) and Lloyd Khanyanga (Malawi)

Thus CABSA played a key role in making the contributions of FBO’s much more visible at the conference.

You can read the statement and reports and view photo’s from the conference with a faith focus here.  General articles and highlights from the conference are available here.

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Faith Communities at the 4th SA AIDS Conference. 15/04/09

PDF icon InterfaithStatement.pdf122.19 KB

Lyn’s Comment: CABSA and CARIS were involved in a number of Inter Faith Activities at the 4th SA AIDS Conference that was held at the International Convention Centre in Durban form 31 March to 3 April 2009.  


CABSA was represented by staff (Nelis on the left and Lyn and Nonceba on the right), and also by a number of our Regional Representatives: Louis Peterson (Western Cape), (Ann Mary Gatigha (KZN), Vhumani Magezi (Zimbabwe), Estelle Heideman (Free State) and Lloyd Khanyanga (Malawi), . Absent in this photo are two Board Members, Board Members (Chairman Andrie Kilian, Desmond Lambrechts).We also had a number of partners and many friends at the conference!


1. CABSA, NCA and SACC organised a Interfaith Pre-Conference session, focussing on HIV Competent Faith Communities. You can download some of the presentations and read more about the session here.

 2. A statement was presented to the Conference. You can download the PDF of the statement below.  Links to the Statement can also be found on the official Conference website.

 3.4. A large number of delegates visited the interfaith exhibition at the conference. Of the visitors 121 registered for the CARIS monthly Newsletter and 72 indicated that they would like to receive the "Bible Message in this Time of HIV" every week.

 5. You can read more about the Main Conference, read news reports, access rapporteur summaries, and see what caught our attention.

   The CABSA Exhibit:




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Inter-faith Pre-Conference Report 15/4/09

Notes and Presentations of the Inter-faith Pre-Conference at the 4th SA AIDS Conference

Organised by NCA, CABSA and SACC; Chaired By Daniela Gennrich, PACSA and Sixolile Ngcobo, Norwegian Church AID.

1. Faith Communities’ Contribution to Scaling Up HIV And AIDS Responses: What’s Happening in SADC. An ARHAP view.
Barbara Schmid (UCT) & Liz Thomas (MRC/CHP)
Download presentation below.
Questions and Comments: -
  1. A lot of local statistics show lack of faith based initiatives. Is this really true? Maybe the problem is that we do not give attention to local groups on the ground? A lot is happening at local level, although not so much in terms of treatment. How do we collect info on these initiatives?
  2. Role of Religious Leadership. Even if there are many initiatives from faith communities, these are not seen if the religious leaders are not involved. CUAHA has tried to organize churches to show up in the real involvement. 
  3. We are not focusing on African Indigenous Faith Communities. 
  4. There is a major focus on AB – how do we assist Faith communities to expand prevention

2. What Is an HIV and Aids Competent Faith Community?

Dr Sue Parry and Prof Ezra Chitando, EHAIA, WCC

Dr Sue Parry: Download presentation below

Prof Ezra Chitando: “The tree who did not want to dance was forced to dance by the wind.” – This can be seen as an analogy for the church in a time of HIV.

Requirements for HIV Competent Faith Communities:
1. Sharp minds – Relevant theological training.
2. Large ears – Be the listening church.
3. Open eyes – Be alert to the injustices of the day.
4. A loud voice – Challenge politicians, be the cultural gate keepers.
5. Healing hands – Practical involvement in care.
6. Long arms – Minister also to those we are not comfortable with.
7. Quick feet - The church needs to be there first.
8. Work across faith communities.

Questions and Comments:

1. Referring to the analogy of the Dancing tree. The tree moves but the roots remain where they are. Should the tree not move? Theological training must facilitate the transformation of where the church/tree is placed.
2. What is it that we should do to get this message out there? WCC does a lot but local churches are paralysed. Need to look at our inner competence as churches.
3. There are good programmes- eg a program for students by students.
4. Different responses in formal and informal faith communities. We need to have the guts to confront simplistic arguments.
5. As members of the rainbow society, why is there a focus on just one segment of society in the pictures accompanying the presentation. This gives the impression that HIV is a black man’s problem. HIV is a human problem.
6. How do we assist the youth to fight HIV? There is not enough involvement of youth in planning programmes – nothing for us without us.
7. Do not expect answers to come from the top? There is many opportunities and responses from the bottom!

3. How can Interfaith Collaboration Assist in Creating HIV and AIDS Competent Communities?

Prof Farid Esack, UJ, Positive Muslims

Summary points:

- The tragedy about HIV is not that there are so many deaths, but rather the many, many deaths that those who die have to die before they die. There are so many deaths that people living with HIV die before physical deaths, the death by community, the death by family, the death by faith community, the death by friends.
- There is an enormous amount of interfaith collaboration. There is great collaboration between Vatican and conservative Muslims, but this is often collaboration on conservatism. When it comes to the war against women or those who are sexually different, we are quite happy to form collaboration behind the scenes. They don’t call it interfaith collaboration, but it is an increasing alliance of the right.
- We see the ‘privileging’ of the A and the B in prevention, but a attempt to completely eliminate the C. People can enter an intervention of prevention on either A or B perspective. We should not just reject their viewpoint but acknowledge that there is some place for this.
- We are very proud of the caring component of our faith communities, but it still moves from the position of a pure church, a pure faith community reaching out to the fallen. It does not confront, sexuality, gender, justice and injustice. It does not look at primary drivers of the pandemic. We need to recognise ourselves as either infected or having the potentiality of being the infected. The only way we are really going to address these issues is through undermining my own and other’s faith communities.
- How can we strengthen ties all the time with main stream structures of our community?
- We need a liberation theology in a time of HIV and AIDS. Our own faiths are not a product but rather a process which is connected to our engagement to the marginalized, the least amongst us. Faith is a growing outcome. We have a connection to those of other faiths who are in the same process. A new meaning of competence can develop when we see faith as a process – as journeying together.

Questions and Comments:

1. So few Muslims are present in the session or are engage in HIV. How can we increase the awareness of Muslims? Prof Esack highlighted the great increase in awareness in the last 10 years.
2. How can we encourage a “liberation theology” on condoms in Islam, the Catholic church and others entities
3. How do we deal with Faith communities that break people in the context of HIV

4. How do HIV and AIDS Competent Faith Communities Contribute to a National Strategic Plan, with Specific Emphasis on Advocacy?

Dr. Vuyani Willem, SACC

Summary points:

- Denialism is one of our greatest challenges. We talk, we preach but we can’t hear.
- Faith communities have a culture of death. If you go to many churches during Easter they will be full on Good Friday when we commemorate Jesus being crucified. People will re-enact it, they will cry, they will mourn. On Sunday when celebrating Easter, the churches will be much emptier. It seems faith communities are preoccupied with death. What is the resource which faith communities should use to respond to this? We need to emphasise life, especially the life of those positively living with HIV.
- There is a need for a reconstruction of the soul: Faith Communities need to affirm life and symbols of life. What are positive things people embrace and how can they be affirmed? Faith Communities should look at this within the framework of the NSP. This is the competence we can engage in.
- Faith Communities need to have a prophetic dimension to the conversation on HIV and AIDS. What are the narratives? They must be unearthed and should be told. Education must be framed by our rootedness in these stories.
- Faith Communities need some interreligious dialogue. What distinguishes one era in history from another is the spirit of the time.

Questions and Comment

1. There is a need for a change of mind. We need to focus on the value of a true religion, teach the right way to live.
2. Is religion just a panacea for this problem?
3. This is a moment of transition, but it is not necessarily a moment of hope from a religious perspective. The position and role of religion is also in transition – it is not a state religion but neither is it a prophetic religion, religion is about keeping the status quo rather than moving forward. Faith communities need to clarify how they see themselves prophetically and need critical engagement not only with the state but with communities.
4. 75% of the Strategic plan focuses on civil society. This session focuses only on advocacy when there is so much more we need to do. Faith communities should move beyond advocacy to address concrete and tangible issues
5. We need to reignite the church
6. Rev Canon Des Lambrecht highlighted the role of the sector in the NSP:
- National religious leaders are meeting with the president at least twice a year. These meetings happen on various topics.
- All sectors have had a say in the National Strategic Plan. Faith based sector also see itself as part of the implementation.
- Faith based sector put one proposal to the Global Fund. The proposal to the GF for round nine will have a generic nature.
- All activities of faith communities are aligned with the national strategic plan.
- Religious sector has secretariat at NRASD at University of Stellenbosch. All communication should go to that office.

5. 4th South African AIDS Conference - Statement from Participants of the Inter Faith Pre-Conference and other Faith Communities

The Statement was read by Lyn van Rooyen from CABSA and participants were invited to endorse the statement.(The statement can still be endorsed by individuals and organisations. Read the Statement and see who endorsed it.)

Key Resources highlighted during the session include:


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The Statement from Participants of the Inter Faith Pre-Conference and other Faith Communities is supported by the following individuals and organisations:

Word Document:

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Signatories to the Interfaith Statement.

The Statement from Participants of the Inter Faith Pre-Conference and other Faith Communities is supported by the following individuals and organisations:

First Name
Last Name
ICW-Kenya Chapter
Donna R.
Mission to the World (SA)
Seabelo Kgarosi
Sizanani Comm Network
Hands at Work
Julia E
University of Fort Hare
Eliam M
Independent Baptist Church SA
Lulamile J.
Diaconal Commission of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, Kagiso Congregation
Mina Edna
Health N/Cape
Nonhlanhla S
Footprints Hospice
Keep a Child Alive
Medical Research Council
Chatsworth + District Partnership Against AIDS (CADPAA)
de Bruyn
de Bruyn
de Klerk
Dept of Education
den Hollander
Siyahlanganisa Centre for Leadership Training and Pastoral Development
Siyakhana – E.C Community of the Paraclete
du Toit
CABSA (Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa)
du Toit
NG Gemeente Vergesig, Sinodale Vigskommissie
Positive Muslims
Fourie Le Roux
CABSA (Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa)
Water for LIfe
Ann Mary
PACSA (Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness)
Community Bridge Builders
Legbo, Northern Cape
Dept of Health
Dept of Soc.Dev., KZN
Bergville, KZN
HIV 911 Program (HIVAN)
King Williamstown
Flaem Malawi
HIV 911 Program (HIVAN)
CABSA (Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa)
SACC (South African Council of Churches)
PACT South Africa
Rev Canon
Anglican Aids and Healthcare Trust
Dept of Labour, Kimberley
Themba Interactive Theatre
M.U.S.A. Durban
AIDS Foundation of SA
Nkomazi Municipality
Africa Operation Whole
Kingsheart Community Centre
Cape Town
Mercy Clinic
SACC Gauteng
R. R.
SAPS Spiritual Services
MTN SA Foundation
Tswane University, Limpopo
PCM Rivoningo Care Centre
Hospice Palliative Care Association
University of Venda
Dept of Correctional Service
Dept of Labour
KZN Christian Council
Waterloo Care Centre
SACC Gauteng
Youth for Christ, North West
Sedibeng District Municipality
Grace Bible Church
Sediba Hope AIDS Programme
White River
Diaconal Commission, Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, Kagiso Congregation
Catholic Health Care
High Praise Centre
Community Liason
Dept of Health, Limpopo
The Sharper Word Christian Church
Bob Daniel
Christians in Partnership Against AIDS (CIPAA)
Sinosize Project, Catholic Archdiocese of Dbn
Qondokuhle School
Christiana Apostolic Church of SA
Tshilidzini - Limpopo
NCA (Norwegian Church AID)
Compass Project
North West Provincial Government
Alabama Clinic
St Joseph's Care Centre
Nomonde Scoble
A Quaker
House of Hope
Simon Onyango
United Ministry for Service and Witness – Pretoria
GOA Community Centre
Lorna Nomhle
SAASA Polokwane
Dept of Social Dev, George
Sub kommissie vir VIGS aangeleenthede , NGBD, Hoëveld Sinode
Gold Per Education Dev. Agency
Rev. Dr.
Louis R.
George East Ministers Fraternal
Dept of Social Dev.
Fontainebleau Gemeenskapskerk
A. K.
AFM of SA Durban N West
Dept of Health Zeerust Hospital
Bertoni Wellness Clinic
Lerato's Hope
African Religious Health Assets Programme
Dept of Health
SAYM Pretoria
Kaboeng Shirley
North West Provincial Government
Daniel (B. D.)
Reakgona Centre
Lifeline Rustenburg
North West Provincial Government
Ned Hervormde Kerk
Dept Agric, Eastern Cape
Zanethemba HBC
Outreach Christian Community Church
ESKOM Distribution
Dept of Health Northwest
van Rooyen
Vigs kommissie van die Sinode Hoëveld, NG Kerk
van Rooyen
van Rooyen
CABSA (Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa)
van Wyngaard
Shiselweni Reformed Home Based Care
ttt4c Coordinator
Ecumenical Day Care Project (Kenya)
World Changes Academy
Medical Research Council
The Salvation Army Organisation
Ignite Africa
Olive Leaf Foundation
Collaborative for HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology (CHART)
Diakonia Council of Churches
National AIDS Forum of the Dutch Reformed Family of Churches
Ujamaa Centre, School of Religion and Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal
World Vision SA
ECAP: (ESSA Community AIDS Program)


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Lyn spends A Week Between Heaven and Hell. 2/09

CABSA at Operation Mobilisation leaders’ meeting in Brazil

In the course of 11 days in February this year Lyn van Rooyen experienced two worlds, poles apart.

The OM HIV ministry is a valued CABSA partner, whose role is to transform lives and communities by mobilising and equipping people to impact the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.  In Lyn’s capacity as board member of the ministry, she attended the Operation Mobilisation (OM) leaders’ meeting about 100 km from Sao Paulo in Brazil.  Afterwards she spent four days in Sao Paulo itself, as guest of CENA Ministries.

The conference, in lush surroundings, was a stimulating and spiritually rewarding experience, Lyn says.

OM is an international missionary organisation which ministers from its ships and in 110 countries.  So stimulating the meeting was indeed, with specialists from all over the world exchanging ideas. And then the spirituality:  Lyn says prayer ran like a golden thread through the proceedings.

“OM’ers really pray for each other. For them prayer is as much part of their daily lives as breathing,” she says.

BrunoAnd then there was Bruno – Bruno Borges from OM Brazil, one of the most inspiring and energetic organisers of the meeting. But when the HIV report was delivered, he surprised everyone by revealing that he was HIV positive. He is a living example of how a hopeless life can change.      (Bruno, Lyn and Rose in the photo

After the meeting Lyn left for Sao Paulo, where CENA Ministries showed her and seven other delegates from various countries a world as close to hell as you can get.

With good reason, a decayed area of the city is called “Rubbish Land”.  Here people are literally dumped to rot. Prostitution, drugs, corruption and street crime are rife – to an extent even us South Africans, who deal with the same problems, can’t imagine. Lyn saw a child of eight smoking a crack pipe, right next to a policeman. There is no hope, no morals, no humanity in this human rubbish heap.

No hope? Not entirely. The people of CENA Ministries told many stories of how their lives did turn around. And most often the turning point was human contact – a cup of water, a touch, a friendly word.

There is life after the rubbish heap. Just ask Bruno. 

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Lyn @ ‘The Church as Channel of Hope’ URCSA Northern Synod, 13-14/2/2009

Office presentation icon URCSApresentation.ppt2.04 MB

Lyn spoke at the ‘The Church as Channel of Hope’ Conference on the Response of the Church to HIV and AIDS, 13-14 February 2009.

The report of the Conference and its expected outcomes is available here.

You can download Lyn's PowerPoint Presentation below.




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Nonceba @ Missionsfest 02/2009

CARIS represented CABSA in exhibitions at Missionsfest Pretoria in 2008 and 2009. In 2009 Nonceba represented CABSA and CARIS at some of the sessions:

1. On Friday 19 February 2009 I attended a session on

Missions to the Rural &Poor. The seminar covered various strategies in reaching out to the poor and rural areas. The presenter highlighted on how a lot of missionaries go to mission with a mindset of saving the world rather than caring and loving the world. He shared also on the importance of knowing the needs of the population in the area.

2. 20th February 2009

Our Response to HIV/AIDS

In this seminar we discussed HIV/AIDS in the church and how the church can strategically respond to HIV/AIDS.

We also discussed about the fears that the church have on HIV/AIDS and the support we as a Christian community can give to our church community and the church as a whole. We asked the question what would Jesus do? The conclusion was we have to be vessels of hope and love.

Financing your Mission

Finances in missions are still a big problem but I learnt that if we correctly prioritise; we should make the smaller issues on missions much easier. It shouldn’t be a burden to raise funds but it takes a lot of work to keep track and find the right donors or financial supporters

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