Nkosi’s Haven is a recognized NGO in South Africa that has been in operation since 1999 offering holistic care and support for destitute HIV/AIDS infected mothers, their children, and resulting AIDS orphans. Founded by Gail Johnson, Nkosi’s Haven was named in honour of her foster son, Nkosi Johnson. Born HIV-positive, Nkosi Johnson was South Africa’s longest surviving victim of AIDS, whose life was characterised by his brave fight for the rights of HIV-positive people. Particularly, he fought for their rights to attend school and be treated like other children. When he was not allowed to go to school, he gave 35 interviews in five days pointing out that he was not a danger to other children. The debate on his school situation led to the Ministry of Education passing the Policy on Admission preventing schools from denying education to HIV infected children in South Africa.
In July 2000, Nkosi captured the hearts of millions of TV viewers when his address at the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa was televised worldwide. An excerpt from Nkosi’s speech reads: “Care for us and accept us – we are all human beings, we are normal. We have hands, we have feet, we can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else. Don’t be afraid of us – we are all the same.” On June the 1st 2001, Nkosi passed away at the age of 12. Nkosi had been separated from his biological mother because of the HIV diagnosis and he never wanted that to happen to any other child. Nkosi’s legacy that “no mother will be separated from her child because of HIV” lives on Nkosi’s Haven. Currently, Nkosi’s Haven houses approximately 160 women and children at one of their two locations in Johannesburg. All children of Nkosi’s Haven attend schools and receive therapy, including play, remedial, occupational, and speech therapy.
For more detailed information on Nkosi’s Haven projects please visit the official website of the organization: www.nkosishaven.org.
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