IT is one of the most dreaded diseases of our times.The disease has not spared any age group as men, women and children have succumbed to it.
Report by Ropafadzo Mapimhidze
Although the general population is aware about the disease, with many people telling their spouses that they will love them for who they are, do these words come from genuine minds?
Or they are driven by the urge to gain favour or sexual satisfaction?
Anderson Mamimine, is in his late 20s, is an example of one man who has fallen in love with people living with HIV and Aids and he says what he sees is good and loving people, not the disease.
He has taken a step further to involve them in his musical project, which brought forth an album titled Anderson Mamimine and the Positive Living Choir – Unite for Children.
“I have been working with children and adults that were born with HIV and children that have parents living with HIV. What I have observed is that not everyone applied to get infected,” he said.
“I love them so much. I have undergone so many tests and tested negative, but that doesn’t make me a better person than them, does it?
“All I am saying is that they are human and deserve to be loved.”
Mamimine, who dropped out of school in Form 5 at Kutama College in Zvimba to pursue a musical career a decade ago, said his peers in Tynwald North near Westgate, thought he had made the biggest mistake of leaving school.
When people from the neighbourhood watched Mamimine playing his guitar, flanked by little children that sang along with him, they thought he was just killing time as he was unemployed.
Some actually passed nasty remarks. But Mamimine, a second born in a family of five children, has just returned from a successful tour of South Africa where he showcased the album that he recorded with children who have suffered a double-blow of losing their parents and contracting the disease.
His father Patrick Mamimine is an academic who lectures at Chinhoyi University of Technology and his mother is a retired teacher. He speaks so passionately about his father as a man who encouraged him to take on his career.
His older brother Ronald is studying for a master’s degree and it was during his visits to Dzivaresekwa Extension where he was doing a research on people living with HIV and Aids that he started interfacing with these people.
“I now have a full understanding and am knowledgeable about HIV and Aids issues. The visit to Dzivaresekwa Extension to these support groups has made me realise just how rife HIV and Aids are in Zimbabwe.”
Mamimine recently received a letter from United States President Barack Obama who has a copy of his music which was produced with the assistance of The Centre, an organisation that deals with information and dissemination of material on HIV.
Another title on this CD Unite for Children features Victor Kunonga, Willis Wataffi, Chiwoniso Maraire, Albert Nyathi, Dereck Mpofu, Razor Kutt, Oliver Mtukudzi and melodious voices of children. The last song Thank You is a favourite that is played on ZBC’s SpotFM every other day.
The lyrics on this album are rich in message.
Voices of the children blend so well with Mamimine’s lyrics that makes one fall in love with these talented young people.
Sometimes when talented artists share the stage or studio for one single performance, it can be the recipe for greatness.
This is what Mamimine has done on this album, where he has brought a number of popular voices to deliver a CD that is rich in expressions from celebrated local artists.
“The children in Dzivaresekwa are very gifted and I urge other musicians to take up the challenge and identify some of them for album recordings.”
Collaborating and recording with musicians from anywhere in the world is now a popular.
For some, it’s actually a necessity.
Director of The Centre, Freddie Kachote, said he was very proud to be associated with Mamimine who has taken the initiative to involve people living with HIV at a time when stigmatisation was still an enormous problem.
“This young man has used music to raise awareness on HIV and Aids and he is indeed a true ambassador in that area,” he said.
Mamimine said proceeds from the sale of his album had been used to pay school fees for some of the children.
“I am paying school fees for 13 children already because I have realised that they have a brighter future,” he said.
The album is being distributed in East and Southern Africa under the Swedish HIV and Aids workplace programme run by SafAids and is targeted at truck drivers.
SafAids deals with information and dissemination of information on HIV and Aids.
Long-distance truck drivers play a key role in curbing the HIV and Aids epidemic due to interactions with commercial sex workers.
Aids accounts for more than half of the 1,4 million orphans in Zimbabwe homes.
About 400 000 have lost one or both parents to an Aids-related illness. Some of them are among the 1,3 million people in the country who are living with HIV.
By working to eliminate new infections and expanding access to life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs, it is possible that children can be protected from being unnecessarily orphaned.
With anti-retroviral drugs having the potential to allow infected persons near-normal lifespans, children may grow past adolescence into adulthood knowing, being cared for and being loved by their parents.
That is the message Mamimine is dishing out through his music.