Sadness, shock as Aids Law Project closes its doors

I WAS shocked when I heard that the Aids Law Project was closing its doors.

I WAS shocked when I heard that the Aids Law Project was closing its doors.

I wonder what has informed this premature decision. After all violation of the rights of people living with HIV-Aids continues unabated. It remains the only voice that protects the rights and dignity of people living with HIV-Aids.

Many battles have been fought and won, some publicly and most silently. Many victories have been recorded since the Aids Law Project was founded by the Justice Edwin Cameron in 1993.

By the way, Judge Cameron remains the only legal mind in the country who has openly declared his status. He sacrificed his career, his family and friends by walking the walk and talking the talk when it was still unfashionable to live with HIV, especially as a white male in a highly conservative and enclosed community of legal practitioners.

Symbolically, the souls of our people were freed both from actual and perceived discrimination because, for the first time, we had a powerful and learned shoulder to cry on. The Aids Law Project never toiled alone. They partnered with other organisations such as the Legal Resources Centre and notably the Treatment Action Campaign, which publicly raised the profiles of people living with HIV-Aids such as Zachie Achmat.

However, the truth is that many others worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Mark Heywood, Jonathan Burger, Nonkosi Khumalo and the chairperson of the Board of Directors to mention but a few, still bear the indelible scars of our collective struggle.

The list is endless. Some of our heroes and heroines have paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we take for granted today.

"The Aids Law Project is now incorporated into a new organisation called Section 27," Heywood assured me at a recent meeting.

It is a new, fresh beginning that we hope will further the exceptional standards and accomplishments that have been recorded by the Aids Law Project.

I wish you well, brothers and sisters. I pay tribute to our fallen heroes as we undertake this new challenge. May God bless you all.