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“My father is my hero”



At a tender of age of 11 years, Albertinah Monageng had no choice but to take care of her HIV positive father after the death of her mother. The father is popular activist Stanley Monageng who runs an NGO called Thusang Bana in Molepolole. His late wife was however, HIV negative. Now 21, Albertinah, a BSc Honours in Computers with Botho College tells The Midweek Sun her story. Instead of going out to play with her friends, her daily concerns were now a matter of life and death. Suddenly the child had to bath her ill father, change and feed him.

She even had to take him to the clinic for checkups and to collect his medication. She also had to ensure he took his medication on time. Monageng, 72, has been open about his status since he was diagnosed and he goes around teaching Batswana about the disease and preventative measures such as Treat All. He has been living with the virus for 17 years now. When he met his wife, she already had three children and they had two more together. Holding tears from rolling down his cheeks, he says that back then when he contracted the virus, people living with HIV were shunned and ridiculed.

“My stepdaughters didn’t want anything to do with me and there was a time when we had to take one of them to court for insulting me about my status,” he says, adding they didn’t want to share anything with him. When his wife passed, the two kicked him out of their home. What Albertinah, or Tinah as she is affectionately known, remembers is that even though she was young, her parents called her and her siblings and told them that their father was HIV positive. “It was not neighbourhood gossip, they sat us down and told us.

I was hurt when my siblings kicked dad out of our house,” says the last born, adding that her late grandmother even fought with her father for her custody, saying he was sick and going to die. She later followed her father and went and stayed with him and continued taking care of him. Tinah had seen her father at her worst. She recalled one time when he reacted to ‘a medication that made him thin to a point of thinking he was going to break his bones.’ But she says she had to be strong for him. At primary school, the young girl stunned her schoolmates and teachers with a poem to celebrate her father. “My father is a hero. My hero. He stood on top of trees to talk about HIV discrimination,” so goes the poem.

She tells this publication that she is proud of her father. “I never discuss his status with anyone, not even with my friends. He’s been popular since I was young. It’s better when it’s him sharing his story. I love him so much,” she says. She advises children who are taking care of their HIV parents to continue doing so with love. She also urges them to take protective measures to avoid being infected. “The status doesn’t change anything. He is still your parent and needs your love and support,” she says.

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Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega



Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

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Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka



NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

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