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

City rejects $50,000 rent supplement for Asooahum Crossing

Council will advocate provincial, federal governments for sustainable funding

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Series launches Feb. 22nd in the Nickle Studios

Three one-acts already sold out, full-length June production is in the works

Innisfail RCMP arrest male found in a locked business

Estimated damages well above $5,000

Red Deer RCMP make arrest in January bank robbery

Man wielded rifle evening of Jan. 25th

RDC’s new Pre-Health Sciences Certificate provides learners with a foundation for future careers

Red Deer College is set to begin their new Pre-Health Sciences Certificate Program in September 2018.

WATCH: New Habitat for Humanity builds in Red Deer launched

Organization has 130 families on the waiting list for new homes

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

Students head to Florida capital to press for gun law change

Young protestors are joining a grassroots movement against gun violence in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida

Liberals look at use-it-or-lose-it parental leave for dads

Liberals looking at creating a use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers, Trudeau says

Fred Rogers, America’s favourite neighbour, celebrated in 2018

The golden anniversary of America’s favorite neighbor is being celebrated with a PBS special next month

Toddler breaks leg after boot sucked into escalator at Vancouver airport

A Calgary woman is reminding parents of the dangers of escalators after her toddler’s foot was stuck in one and he broke his leg

Moose creates uber Canadian Olympic moment

A Calgary man shares a truly Canadian moment on Twitter of a Moose enjoying the Olympics

Most Read