The Mothers Share their Stories

Nomfuneko Salaze & Kate Gray

February 2006

In 2002 Nqobani Mkhwanazi, then Head Girl of St Cyprian's School, Cape Town, facilitated the initial donation of R4000 to fund the Positive Beadwork Project. On her return visit three years later, she was quite 'bowled over' as to how things had developed. For the mothers it was a wonderful chance for them to share their stories with her. Ntombumozi told of when she disclosed her status to her family. She was staying at her sister's place and they chased her out of the house. She went to live with her aunt but she never felt accepted there. She then decided to stay on the streets. When she joined the beadwork project she realised that she could live her life by doing beadwork and earning something. With the money from beadwork she managed to build her own shack. She feels that the project has given her, her life back.

Queenie said that the fact that they meet every week has strengthened them. The project has created a platform where they can share their challenges, frustrations and they support one another as sisters.

Thembi told how she is always willing to do extra samples, and said that she enjoys doing the beadwork so much that she even does it when she cannot sleep at night.

Thuli was so ill last year that we feared the worst. She told Nqobani and how she recovered and then had to return home to the Eastern Cape later that year to bury her younger sister who died of AIDS. In spite of her difficulties, she believes that there is still much to celebrate in life - the fact that her son is fit and healthy on his ARV treatment and her joy in being able to give him a birthday party with some of the money she had made from selling beadwork. Patience said that she was fired at work because she often used to be away as she was always sick. When she joined the project she realised that she can earn an income to feed her children.

Nqobani continues as an Aids Activist. Midst her studies and AIDs work with Pieter Dirk Uys, she went to Australia in July at the request of Ballarat Grammar School and embarked on an intensive 2 week tour speaking about the pandemic and the Beadwork Project. As a result our orders from Australia continue to increase and recently included 5 000 flags of 33 different countries to be sold at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March 2006.

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Ndebele cards

Our new product 'Ndebele cards' feature beautiful ethnic designs on beaded squares with a pin attached so you are buying more than just a card and your purchase is supporting a family affected by HIV/AIDS. The beadwork can be worn as a brooch or pinned to a bag. The cards are R20 each and can be ordered from or inquiries to
+27 21 686 9710.