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.