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'My mother stood by me. It's because of her that I'm still alive'

By unknown | Dec 01, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Blind Aids activist and actress Helen Ndamase has been living with the HI virus for 13 years.

Ndamase, 32, learnt about her HIV status in 1993.

"When I was diagnosed I felt as if the world was caving in on me. I was confused and angry at myself and my partner.

"I blamed myself and wanted to know why it had happened to me.

"The worst was the way I found out. The doctor had referred me to hospital because of a rash that was not getting better. They did several tests, including an HIV test," Ndamase said.

Ndamase plays Tshisa in Thembela on SABC1. Tshisa is the blind mother of eight-year-old Ayanda and her actress mother takes care of them.

Ndamase's real-life situation is very similar. She is blind, has an eight-year-old son and her mom, Pinky, takes care of them.

Ndamase said: "I vividly remember the day I found out I was HIV-positive. A porter was pushing me to the operating theatre when a nurse called him. She showed him her glove and it had HIV positive written on it. A doctor confirmed it."

She told her partner about her condition, but not her family and friends.

Five years later her partner died of Aids-related illnesses and Ndamase was forced to disclose her status.

"I didn't have the courage to tell my family. I felt so ashamed. I felt I had let them down.

"But now I am happy that I did because they supported and cared for me.

"At first my family was hurt and confused, but later they accepted it, especially my mother, who was tortured by the neighbours.

"She stood by me when everybody thought I wouldn't make it. She is the reason I am alive.

"She made me believe that the virus has no power over me."


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