Tuesday, February 8, 2011
A few days ago, would have marked the 22nd birthday of a boy named Nkosi Johnson. Nkosi was born on February 2nd 1989 in South Africa. He was born HIV-positive and was left at care center for HIV positive children by his mother for fear of this news getting back to her community. He was one of the estimated 4.7 million South African with HIV. A director of the center, Gail Johnson, took Nkosi home and became his foster mother. The family he was a part of, though, was not very well off and they couldn’t afford the medicines that could have helped suppress his disease.
By the time he was 8, he had made worldwide headlines when his school had turned their nose up to accepting an HIV-positive student. Gail Johnson didn’t take this information lightly. She fought the school in the courts and in the media until her son was welcomed. At an AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa in 2000, Nkosi spoke about needing improved medical treatment and compassion for AIDS sufferers. He also took time during this speech to criticize the South African government for not helping towards a better outcome. He died in 2001 at only 12 years old because of his complications. He not only inspired his country, but he inspired the world to help fight the epidemic. He was wise beyond his years and has since been called a hero. His story is extremely powerful and shows the way that young people, much younger than myself can try to change the world.
“Do all you can with what you have in the time you have in the place you are”- Nkosi Johnson