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Today’s Woman: Tendayi Kateketa-Westerhof

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Hellen Venganai

By Hellen Venganai

I continue to celebrate different women in this month of March.

Today I honour the #10th woman, who happens to be Tee Kay (Tendayi Kateketa-Westerhof).

This is one strong woman who has not let circumstances pin her down.

She is a former model, who discovered in 2002 that she was HIV positive.

We know how issues of stigma were like back then. Despite being stigmatised for revealing her HIV status, Tendayi has soldiered on as a powerful voice and HIV and AIDS activist advocating for the rights and needs of persons living with HIV especially women and girls.

She founded the Public & Personalities Against AIDS Trust (PPAAT) which sought to encourage public figures and celebrities to be open about their HIV status.

She has taken her advocacy work on HIV to international platforms and in 2019,) together with Meg Doherty of the World Health Organisation) she co-chaired a conference in USA on retroviruses and opportunistic infections where she also shared about her experiences as a woman living with HIV.

Tendayi is the Executive Director for the Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition which has been helping to build support groups of women living with HIV; and encouraging them to get actively involved in all processes to do with HIV in the country and beyond.

Because of her magnificent work, she was recently appointed a board member of the National Aids Council Board representing persons living with HIV and AIDS. She has also served in many other boards.

Due to her passion and contribution to HIV issues, Tendayi also served on the International Steering Group of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition as an alternate representative for Southern Africa from 2004 to 2008.

She has also received several awards including the Auxillia Chimusoro Leadership Award and the Global PowerWomen Network Africa Award.

And by the way, this great woman is also an author and has two books to her name which are about her life as an HIV positive woman.

So today, let us celebrate her for using her own HIV positive story to transform the lives of other people living with HIV.

Her advocacy work has contributed to policy shifts and fighting stigma as well as ensuring that ARVs are accessible.

Her story is not only about her, but about bringing positive change in the lives of others.

I appreciate you Tee Kay for all the great work you do.

You bring hope to anyone of us who may wake up being HIV positive and may be thinking its the end of the world.

 

Robert Tapfumaneyi

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