Tsabile Victoria Simelane

AfriGrand Caravan rolls through Red Deer

Two brave women from Swaziland, Africa shared their experiences and challenges at the Red Deer Lodge on Monday.

Hosted by GrammaLink–Africa, the AfriGrand Caravan, a cross-country tour with young African women orphaned by AIDS and grandmothers faced with an orphan care crisis, stopped in Red Deer to share their stories.

Grandmother Tsabile Victoria Simelane and her granddaughter Thandeka Carol Motswa came to represent Swaziland Positive Living, (SWAPOL) a national grassroots organization advocating for the rights and recognition of people affected by HIV and AIDS in Swaziland, Africa.

Simelane, 56, takes care of 30 orphans in her community and as the chairperson of her HIV/AIDS support group she works closely with SWAPOL’s mobile clinic outreach team and conducts visits to people who are affected.

“We are so grateful to come to Canada to share our experiences and challenges we have in the sub-Saharan,” said Simelane.

Simelane lost her sister to the virus and is now taking care of her six grandchildren in her own home, two of which are HIV positive.

“Our government has tried, but it is not enough,” said Simelane. “In my community I have experienced a lot of pain in seeing people die unnecessarily.”

Granddaughter Motswa lost her mother to AIDS in 2003 when she was 12-years-old, and three days later she lost her father in an accident.

Now 19, she is the head of her household after dropping out of school to take care for her two younger brothers and sister.

The AfriGrand Caravan is part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and creates an opportunity for African grandmothers and granddaughters to tell their stories in dealing with the AIDS virus.

In 2001, the first international African Grandmothers’ Gathering brought nearly 500 African grandmothers together to share their experiences.

GrammaLink-Africa is one of over 220 grandmother groups that have involved about 5000 people across Canada supporting the Grandmother campaign.

“It is so difficult to reach each and everyone affected, so my plea to you is to give support to the grandmothers, the rotaries, and all those business people who are putting a hand across Africa,” said Simelane.

tsigurdson@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Oh What a Night! celebrates iconic American legends

Frankie Valli and Andy Williams honoured during Red Deer show

Red Deer Lights the Night gets residents into the holiday spirit

Free winter festival is on Saturday, Nov. 17th from 4 to 7 p.m.

Rebels Forward Brandon Hagel signs deal with Chicago Blackhawks

Alexeyev, Anders make Player and Goalie of the Week in October and early November

Dean Brody heads to Red Deer with stripped down, acoustic show

Dirt Road Stories tour offers a kitchen party lodge-type experience

Calgarians vote ‘no’ to bidding for 2026 Winter Games, in plebiscite

Out of 767,734 eligible voters, 304,774 voted and 171,750 said ”no.”

Canada Post strike having ‘critical’ impact on retailers, eBay tells PM

Canada Post says it is now facing an unprecedented backlog of shipments, largely as a result of strikes

NASA wants Canadian boots on the moon as first step in deep space exploration

The U.S. is seeking broad international support for the next-generation space station to send into orbit a in 2021

B.C. man wanted in connection to domestic assault in Edmonton

Sterling Miles Booker has ‘ROCK’ and ‘ROLL’ tattooed on his hands

Canada wants free trade deal with southeast Asian nations, Trudeau says

ASEAN nations combined have nearly 650 million people, an economy of US$2.8 trillion, and are already Canada’s sixth-biggest trading partner.

Olympic and Paralympic committees disappointed, but respectful of Calgary’s vote

The majority of voters said ‘no’ to a potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Wildfire death toll rises in California as search for missing continues

Authorities reported six more fatalities from the Northern California blaze, bringing the total number of dead so far to 48.

B.C. MLAs urge Trudeau to call byelection immediately in Burnaby-South

Four NDP provincial politicians from British Columbia are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately call a byelection in the federal riding of Burnaby-South.

Prince Charles turns 70 with party, new family photos

Charles is due to have tea on Wednesday with a group of people who are also turning 70 this year

Most Read