MEDIA: Photographs

YEAR: 2004 - 2006


Sylvia told me when we met that her husband had probably transmited the virus to her. She was loyal, but not him. She infected her new born baby, Badalo, who passed away at the age of 6 months, after being sick most of her short life. The baby tested HIV positive when she was 6 weeks old. She is taking medication but the family still lives in the denial of the virus. When I went the first time to the child section of the cemetery in Tembisa, the graves of children were covered with objects that belonged to them. There were toys, stuffed animals, but also medications bottles, just above the numbers. 
Tembisa township, South Africa, the 2nd of March 2006.


Promise is from Zimbabwe. She works for a small association in the township where she walks to everyday, out of the squatter camp where she lives . She is heavily pregnant with her first baby at 28 years old and I followed her for 3 months until the day of delivery. the hospital denied me again access, despite our pleading. AIDS in South Africa is an invisible monster: everyone sees it but no one will name it. 
In South Africa, HIV/AIDS denialism had a significant impact on public health policy from 1999 to 2008, during the presidency of Thabo Mbeki.  Mbeki criticized the scientific consensus that HIV is the cause of AIDS beginning shortly after his election to the presidency. In 2000, he organized a Presidential Advisory Panel regarding HIV/AIDS including several scientists who denied that HIV caused AIDS.
Tembisa township, South Africa, the 2nd of May 2006.


Sipathi at our first encounter was already very ill. Her skin was only covering what was left of her. The family insisted I photograph. I asked for the permission to photograph her in the hospital and despite the family insistance, the administration refused. We would all go and visit her. When we arrived, either she hadn’t been washed properly or the nurses had left her with a platter of food she could not even reach. This was not neglect, it
was abuse. She passed away a few weeks after she got in the hospital. She was 23yo and left behind her, her son Tsato.
Tembisa township, South Africa, the 5th of June 2006.