for better, or worse

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

Solomon Zimba feared the worst when he told his lover, Nolundi Belene, that he was HIV positive.

But Belene's steely devotion and love have ensured that their relationship stay strong.

Zimba, 32, pictured, an Aids activist from Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, and Belene, 32, of eNgcobo in the Eastern Cape, will tie the knot next month.

Belene is HIV negative and the couple have an eight-year-old son. She was already pregnant when Zimba disclosed his status in 1999.

"I was shocked when he told me, but being involved with him meant being with him for better or for worse," said Belene.

Zimba said that disclosing his status to his partner was difficult because he was not sure how she would react.

"For a long time I didn't believe I had HIV until several tests confirmed it," he said.

Zimba said he is not sure how he was infected and that it was "miraculous" that Belene and their son were not infected.

"I was not fooling around. In the past I had visited an inyanga while working as a security guard for protection against getting shot.

"They made several incisions on my body. Maybe they used the same dirty and unsterilised blades on all their patients," Zimba said.

The couple said they were hoping to have more children.

"It could be risky but we will take precautions," said Zimba.

Zimba said he had founded Zimbanathi Project, a non-governmental organisation for those with HIV-Aids in Tembisa, "as a way of dealing with and accepting my status".