Narrator – Tumisho Masha
Tumisho Masha is a popular South African actor and television presenter. He has a BA in Drama from Wits University, and began his career in theatre. His film and television credits as an actor include being the first South African actor to portray iconic leader Nelson Mandela in the international film “Mandela’s Gun”. His international hits include “Beyond Borders”, “Drum” and “Catch a Fire”.
His recent international television work includes the hit British TV Film “Kidnap and Ransom”, the popular BBC drama “Silent Witness”, Emmy Award winning HBO series “No1 Ladies Detective Agency” as well as the social awareness Film “ Shuga – Staying Alive” on MTV.
Tumisho’s latest leading role is as Jackson Mokaba on “Isibaya” on Mzansi Magic. He won a Best Actor “SAFTA” award in 2012 for his portrayal of Modise Tladi on “The Wild” MNET’s critically acclaimed daily drama. He is still remembered as Dumisane Thusong from SABC 3’s “Isidingo” and as a presenter on “TOP BILLING” South Africa’s premiere lifestyle magazine show which he starred on from 2004 to 2009. He has hosted the annual South African Music Awards (SAMAS) twice.
Zanana, Nomfundo, Thembi, Nthuthu and Khaya met through their HIV work at NAPWA (National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS), TAC (Treatment Action Campaign) and MANPEHA (Masihlanganeni Network of People Living with HIV).
Their friendship survives despite the fact that they live across the Eastern Cape province in cities and rural towns. They share a strength of spirit, a common mission and value their journey together. All five have experienced the challenges of living with HIV and have supported each other through much of life’s trials and triumphs.
Khaya has been living with HIV for 15 years. He describes himself as having been a “player” who refused to get tested for many years even though he suspected he was HIV positive. Now he is a step-dad to three children including an eleven-year-old son living with HIV. Khaya considers himself a changed man but still has a constant battle to be the man he would like to be. He is also studying so that he can get his high school diploma.
Nomfundo faces the dual stigma of being HIV positive and lesbian in a conservative society. She lives and works in East London where she is involved in the HIV and LGBTQ activist community. She is also battling breast cancer but despite the numerous challenges she faces, Nomfundo is committed to her work with NGOs as she helps them with their work providing HIV care and support.
Ntuthu works at the local AIDS center. She has a five-year-old daughter and lives in Grahamstown in Joza Township. Ntuthu contracted HIV from her ex-boyfriend, her first love, when she was 22. She later found out that he knew he was HIV positive and had lied about his test results. He recently died of AIDS after stopping his medication and Ntuthu is having difficulty coming to terms with his death.
Thembi comes from a poor rural background. She was orphaned at thirteen but through the support of her extended family she was able to finish school and attend nursing college. Thembi lives in Port Elizabeth where she is a Director at a non-profit where she designs and manages HIV programs. Thembi has a 14-year-old son whose birth was the reason she discovered her HIV status. Her husband is HIV negative.
Zanana is the mother of an eight-month-old baby and a 14-year-old son. She is anxiously awaiting the results of her baby’s final HIV test due when he turns 18 months. Zanana works as a training and outreach coordinator at a non-profit in East London. Her sister-in-law cares for her baby whom she gets to see over the weekend when she returns to her home in Mtatha.