South African Celebrities Living Positively With HIV 1990-2024

Discover the stories of South African celebrities living with HIV and their impact on raising awareness and fighting against the stigma associated with the virus. Learn about the importance of HIV/AIDS education, testing, and treatment, and the ongoing efforts needed to combat stigma and ensure access to healthcare services. Join the fight against HIV/AIDS and make a difference in creating a more inclusive society.

With a national HIV prevalence rate of 18.8 percent among adults aged 15-49, South Africa has the highest absolute number of people living with HIV in the world – 5.5 million out of a world total of almost 40 million, according to UNAIDS. However, certain groups are more exposed to the virus than others.

Today we will discuss SA Celebrities Living Positively With HIV And Aids

The battle involves raising awareness, providing support, and challenging stereotypes surrounding HIV. In this article, we’ll introduce you to three notable South African celebrities who have openly shared their experiences of living with HIV, dedicating their lives to the cause.

Interestingly, the biggest public announcement of HIV-positive celebrities is seen by media celebrities Koyo Bala, Tender Mavundla, Lesego Mosepe, Jabu Sithole, the late DJ Khabzela, and Criselda Kananda.

Top 10 South African Celebrities Living with HIV

In South Africa, HIV/AIDS is a prevalent issue that affects millions of people. While there is still a stigma surrounding the virus, there are courageous individuals who have come forward to share their own experiences and raise awareness. In the world of South African celebrities, there are a few notable figures who have publicly disclosed their HIV-positive status.

Their stories serve as a powerful reminder that HIV does not discriminate and that anyone can be affected.


Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko

SA Celebrities Living Positively With HIV And Aids - Musa 'Queen' Njoko
Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko

Gospel star Musa Njoko has also been living with HIV for over 20 years. In a recent tweet, she said she was also given a few months to live but has managed to fight the disease for years. “He was just under 2yrs when I was diagnosed with HIV.

Koyo Bala

Koyo Bala
Koyo Bala

In a 2011 interview with DRUM magazine, Bala spoke openly about living with HIV. He said he had received the diagnosis in 2010 and had made a commitment to help others in the same situation. He however died of cancer in 2015.

“I am HIV-positive, and as a celebrity and someone who is openly gay, it is important to come out. I want to use my bubbly personality to help those struggling to come to terms with their status and instil a sense of hope.”

Thembi Mtshali-Jones

Thembi Mtshali-Jones, is a South African actress. Considered as one of South Africa’s most celebrated artists, Thembi is notable for the roles in the several popular television serials including Sgudi ‘Snaysi, Stokvel, Silent Witness and Imbewu.

Thembi Mtshali smiles through the pain of loss
Thembi Mtshali-Jones

One such celebrity is Thembi Mtshali-Jones, a renowned actress and singer. She revealed her HIV-positive status in 2009, becoming an advocate for HIV awareness and prevention. Mtshali-Jones uses her platform to educate others about the importance of regular testing, safe sex practices, and the importance of early treatment. Her bravery in speaking out has helped to break down the barriers of stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV.

Sello Maake KaNcube

Sello Maake kaNcube is a South African actor. He has worked in his native land as well as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Europe.
Born: March 12, 1960 (age 64 years), Orlando, Soweto, South Africa

Another influential figure is Sello Maake Ka-Ncube, a well-known actor in South Africa. He publicly disclosed his HIV-positive status in 2011, sharing his personal journey with the virus. Ka-Ncube has been actively involved in campaigns and initiatives aimed at destigmatizing HIV and promoting access to treatment and care. His openness about living with HIV has inspired many others to seek testing and treatment, ensuring that they can live healthy and fulfilling lives.

Thembi Ngubane

Thembi Ngubane is a South African activist and radio producer who documented her personal journey with HIV/AIDS. Ngubane was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 16 and decided to share her story to break the silence surrounding the virus. She recorded audio diaries of her experiences, which were later turned into a radio documentary called “Thembi’s AIDS Diary.”

 South African Celebrities Living Positively With HIV
 South African Celebrities Living Positively With HIV

Ngubane’s documentary gained international attention and shed light on the realities of living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. She became a powerful advocate for HIV/AIDS education and prevention, using her own story to inspire others and fight against the stigma associated with the virus. Tragically, Ngubane passed away in 2009, but her legacy lives on through her powerful storytelling and advocacy work.

Ngubane’s impact reached far beyond the radio documentary. She was a prominent figure in the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa, a country heavily affected by the epidemic. Through her activism, Ngubane played a crucial role in raising awareness about the virus and advocating for better access to treatment and support services for those living with HIV/AIDS.

Ngubane’s personal journey with HIV/AIDS was not an easy one. She faced discrimination and judgment from society, but she refused to let that define her. Instead, she used her experiences to educate others and challenge the misconceptions surrounding the virus.

Abdurrazack ‘Zackie’ Achmat: Turning Adversity Into Activism

Abdurrazack ‘Zackie’ Achmat, a renowned South African film director, received his HIV diagnosis in 1990, along with a grim prediction of three months to live. However, he refused to succumb to despair. Instead, Zackie became a passionate activist, co-founding the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), an organization dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

Through the powerful slogan ‘HIV Positive,’ he has worked diligently to combat the stigma surrounding the virus. Zackie’s journey from a life-threatening diagnosis to becoming a prominent activist is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Criselda Kananda

Criselda Kananda

Radio DJ Criselda Kananda, was diagnosed HIV positive more than 13 years ago, when she was seven months pregnant. Today she is a mother of 3, motivational speaker, professional counsellor, former nurse, medical underwriter and serves on the board of the South African National AIDS Council.

Thabang Sefatsa

Former footballer, Thabang Sefatsa made headlines  when he confessed to being HIV positive, and he revealed the reason why more players don’t speak out.

South African Professional Football Player Publicly Announces His HIV  Status (Watch)-Thabang Sefatsa
Thabang Sefatsa

Lesego Motsepe

Obituary: Lesego Motsepe - Beloved soapie actress and brave Aids activist-Lesego Motsepe
Lesego Motsepe
  • Lesego Motsepe was born on April 28, 1974 in South Africa. She was an actress, known for Carpe Diem (1997) and
  • Isidingo (1998). She died on January 20, 2014 in Randburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.
  • Born: April 28, 1974, South Africa
  • Died: January 20, 2014 (age 39 years), Randburg, South Africa
  • Parents: Ivy Skhosana

Lesego Motsepe who for 10 years played Lettie Matabane in Isidingo, disclosed her status on World AIDS Day in 2011. She said “Our society had made this virus a monster and all it is, is a virus. I’m doing it for the voiceless people out there who just found out today, and know that I’ve got their back.” Sadly Motsepe stopped using life-saving ARVs in 2012. She died in 2014.

Nokuthula Lwedaba

Nokuthula Lwedaba
Nokuthula Lwedaba

The former Rhythm City actress revealed her mother died from the condition in 2005 while awaiting ARVs the health department had run out of at the time.

Vusi Nova

Vusi Nova
Vusi Nova

The singer, revealed to Drum magazine recently that his current album, Naninina has helped him heal from his tumulous past of drugs and losing his parents. He revealed to the magazine that when his mother passed he was often ashamed to divulge that she had indeed died of HIV.

He says: “At some point I used to lie to people and say my mother died of cancer because I was afraid to say my mother had HIV,” he told the local publication. “I was too scared to say I once took drugs to numb pain.”

Phindile Sithole-Spong

Phindile Sithole-Spong
Phindile Sithole-Spong

SABC1’s Rise presenter, Phindile Sithole-Spong found out at 19 that she had full blown AIDS after suddenly falling ill. Manoeuvring through young adulthood at university was tricky she admits. “On my 22nd birthday, while driving home from dinner, my then boyfriend suddenly flipped and called me a murderer who was going to infect and kill him with my HIV. He kicked me out of the car and left me in the middle of nowhere,” she says.

Now engaged to the love of her life, the 27 year old says the biggest scare about living with HIV is wondering how your body will handle growing old with HIV. “Chances of having cervical cancer are 50% more for HIV-positive women. I panic each time I get sick.” Despite that and a history of being sexually molested by her uncle in her childhood, Phindile maintains a positive attitude and plans on having children of her own in the future.


In addition to her advocacy work, Ngubane also worked closely with organizations and government agencies to develop and implement HIV/AIDS prevention programs. She believed in the power of education and believed that by providing accurate information about the virus, people could make informed decisions and protect themselves and others.

Ngubane’s legacy continues to inspire and motivate others to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Her courage and determination have left an indelible mark on the world, reminding us of the importance of compassion, empathy, and understanding when it comes to dealing with health crises.

Today, Ngubane’s story serves as a reminder that anyone can make a difference, regardless of their circumstances. She showed us that even in the face of adversity, one person’s voice can have a profound impact on the lives of others.

In addition to these celebrities, there are countless other individuals in South Africa who are living with HIV and working tirelessly to raise awareness and fight against the stigma associated with the virus. Their stories serve as a reminder that HIV is not a death sentence, but rather a manageable condition with proper medical care and support.
It is crucial to acknowledge the impact that these celebrities have had on the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Their courage in sharing their own experiences has helped to break down the barriers of fear and ignorance surrounding the virus. By using their platforms to educate and inspire, they have encouraged others to get tested, seek treatment, and support those living with HIV.

However, despite the progress made in raising awareness and promoting access to treatment, there is still much work to be done. South Africa continues to have one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, with millions of people living with the virus. Stigma and discrimination remain significant barriers to testing and treatment, preventing many individuals from seeking the help they need.

To address these challenges, ongoing efforts are needed to combat stigma, promote education, and ensure access to affordable and quality healthcare services. Celebrities, like Thembi Mtshali-Jones and Sello Maake Ka-Ncube, play a crucial role in these efforts by using their influence to advocate for change and challenge societal norms.

In conclusion, the stories of South African celebrities living with HIV serve as powerful reminders that HIV does not discriminate and that anyone can be affected. Their bravery in sharing their own experiences has helped to break down the barriers of stigma and discrimination surrounding the virus. By using their platforms to educate and inspire, they have encouraged others to get tested, seek treatment, and support those living with HIV. However, more work is needed to combat stigma, promote education, and ensure access to healthcare services for all.

One of the key initiatives supported by the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project is the provision of comprehensive sexual education in schools across South Africa. Theron believes that education is a powerful tool in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, and through CTAOP, she has partnered with local organizations to develop age-appropriate curricula that address topics such as safe sex, consent, and gender equality.

In addition to her work with CTAOP, Theron has also been actively involved in advocating for policy changes that prioritize the needs of those affected by HIV/AIDS. She has used her influence to lobby governments and international organizations to increase funding for research, prevention, and treatment programs. Theron has also been a vocal supporter of initiatives aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, emphasizing the importance of empathy and understanding in creating a more inclusive society.

Theron’s dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS extends beyond her philanthropic efforts. As an actress, she has used her platform to raise awareness through her roles in films that shed light on the impact of the epidemic. In 2003, Theron won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute and serial killer who was also living with HIV/AIDS, in the film “Monster.”

Through her multifaceted approach to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Charlize Theron has become a prominent figure in the global fight against the virus. Her personal connection to the cause, combined with her passion and commitment, has inspired countless individuals and organizations to join the fight and work towards a world free from the burden of HIV/AIDS.

Danny Glover, an American actor and activist, has been vocal about his HIV-positive status. While he is not originally from South Africa, Glover has been actively involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy in the country. He has worked closely with organizations such as the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) to raise awareness and fight for better access to healthcare for those living with HIV/AIDS.

Glover’s advocacy work extends beyond South Africa. He has been a prominent figure in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, using his platform to raise awareness and push for policy changes. Glover’s commitment to the cause has earned him recognition and respect from the international community.

One of the reasons why Glover’s advocacy work has been so impactful is his ability to connect with people on a personal level. As someone who is living with HIV, he understands the challenges and stigma that individuals face on a daily basis. This firsthand experience allows him to speak authentically and passionately about the importance of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

In addition to his advocacy work, Glover has also used his acting career to shed light on important social issues. He has starred in films that tackle topics such as racism, inequality, and social justice. By using his platform as an actor, Glover has been able to reach a wide audience and spark conversations about these important issues.

Glover’s dedication to HIV/AIDS advocacy has not gone unnoticed. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award and the United Nations Global Leadership Award. These accolades serve as a testament to his unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Looking ahead, Glover shows no signs of slowing down in his advocacy work. He continues to use his platform to raise awareness and push for change, both in South Africa and around the world. His passion and dedication serve as an inspiration to others, encouraging them to get involved and make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.




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