Prudence Mabele: Tribute
We have lost a champion. Prudence Mabele will always be remembered for being the first black woman to openly state she is living with HIV. She became a courageous activist and was a founder member of the Treatment Action Campaign when the government of the day refused to allow the import of life-saving antiretroviral drugs. At that time Prudence also faced the hostility of her peers. Her calling was to be a healer and she followed the cultural practices of her heritage. In this she played a unique role bridging the gap between traditional healing while advocating Western science in dealing with HIV.
An advocate for justice and women’s rights, Prudence founded the Positive Women’s Network that has done outstanding work in promoting gender justice. Her strong leadership skills led her to play a critical role as deputy chair of the Civil Society Forum within the South African National AIDS Council. It was this body that formulated the National Strategic Plan in response to AIDS, TB and STIs (2017-2022). Prudence was an icon and inspiration to many but especially to those living with HIV. She touched the lives of many of us at the DTHF. As we mourn her passing, we give thanks for her determination, courage and passion.