Ana Mdoda

My Name is Ana Anile Nosiphiwo Mdoda. I am 32 yrs old. I was born in Cape Town in the multiracial community of Cape Town “Cape Flats” in a Town ship called Welgamoed near Bellville. We were then moved to Modderdam before being moved again to Crossroads because of the Group Areas Act. I had a chance of growing up in both Transkei and Western Cape. I’m from a very close, neat family of hard workers. I’m a proud mom, grandmom, sister, daughter and friend. It is always a pleasure for me to tell my story.

Currently I am working for the Organization called Yabonga as a HIV Programmes Co-ordinator. I love my Job because I’m serving directly my people, I mean my people from the dissadvantaged communities – where exactly I’m coming from.

Sometime in the year 2000 I became weak and weaker by the day, I lost weight and developed a huge lump on my neck. I decided to seek help and I went to WoodStock Community Clinic for help. I was asked to do the TB test which I agreed to do although I was a little bit confused. I used to weigh a huge mass of 110 Kilos before I lost some weight. The nurse examined me, told me about different kinds of TBs and that anyone can have TB. The nurse injected in the lump I had on my neck to take out some fluid for TB some tests, the results came out and were TB positive. Was also asked if I was interested in doing HIV test, I agreed again. Again the results came out to be positive. I became numb with a shock, I knew very little about HIV as well as TB. I did not know what to do but thought of a very good friend of mine that I could share the news with – that was my boyfriend of many years whom I was cohabitating with during the time. I broke the news to him (he was the first person to…). He told me plain out that “In his family there’s never been AIDS, so the AIDS was not for him but for only me” then he dumped me. That was a begginning of my misery life, I was heart broken because I loved and trusted him, I was so miserable. I became sick by the day with different Opportunistic Infections (OI’s) like Extra Pulmonary TB, Peripheral Neoropathy, Short Breath, Cryptococal Meningitis, etc.

I was in and out of different Hospitals, I think many people including my family lost hope in me but I had Faith, a very strong one that I was going to survive – I wanted to leave, I didn’t want to die. Sometimes I could feel that the “death angel” was beginning to claim my soul, but I fought back, I prayed hard until it let go of me. I started to bargain with God and I’m very honoured that somehow I have kept many of the promises I’ve made to God. I wanted to be a good mom, to be an Angel of change starting from myself, family and community, and also to be an Educated somebody. I’m now currently a UNISA student doing Pyschology and have done some Social Work through UNISA and Advanced Counselling and some Community Development course as well as Human Rights course. When I started with Yabonga I received some skills to be a Peer Educator, I was so touched with the training and I was Longing for more. I was and still am a very very ambitious person inside and deep down.

I saw myself as a Trainer – which I accomplished as I grew to be a Counsellor, and a Trainer. There’s something that people do not know about me… I’m a very religious person, I don’t know how many times per day I have a conversation with God, I pray a lot – I always humble myself before the Lord. He is my Role Model, He inspires me in so many aspects of Life, I put my full Trust on Him. I consistantly look back at how my life used to be for me, where I’m coming from, how I have grown to be me, I mean me – not copy anybody else. I look at the thousands or even 1 Soul or Heart I have touched, I become impressed with me, and how God Created me. Of course in Life I was faced with many challenges and Obstacles, that are some I’m still facing, but I have learnt that in all things God works for the best. As I write this Story I see Glory Revealed as God is using me just the way I am and in ways others can’t be used.

Few minutes ago I was called in my Manager’s office and I was told about my new post, with big responsibilities starting from next year. Isn’t God to be praised at all times? looking at not who I am but where I’m coming from. When I was a kid I always wanted to be a Teacher and an Entertainer, and I am now seeing myself as those. I see myself as a Teacher, a Leader, Entertainer, Healer or Soul Doctor, Motivational Speaker, a Mentor, a Life Coach, Activist and a Good Mom too. Isn’t that great? I have a passion for reaching out Dissadvantaged Communities especially Youth and those infected. I also keep myself available in whatever God wants me to do and whenever He leads I follow. I have grown a lot, I have learnt to interact with my inner me, my inner Soul – to know myself more so that I can be able to live the life to the fullest. Wow I love being me, being my own unique Soul…I have dreams and Goals that I have set to achieve in life, First I would love to stay grounded in life as I am and want to become the Best witness of God’s Love and Hope, to be used as a vessel in the Communities of Rich and Poor. I think as for all of us, it’s time we feel the gap, we all need to come forward and together face the challenge of this “Killer Disease”.

Talking about HIV is not always smooth or adorable, sometimes it can be a very difficult exercise even to me – but I Iove it. My organization, the reason I’m still with them is one of those that can contact people from Grass Root Levels because it recruits people from disadvantaged Communities and trains them to be Peer Educators, Lay counsellors and Youth Counsellors. We are fighting this ‘Killer Disease” that is taking away our brothers, sisters, friends, parents, partners and our own children. Rising Levels of HIV prevelance gives us all a Task to perform. Our MAIN Job altogether should be to eliminate the new Infections and to give support, education and offer Counselling to those infected and affected. I know that HIV is associated to be the disease of Africans and that is where the Stigma and Discrimination is coming from. We need to liberate ourselves from the oppressions that are coming from our communities.

We all need to restore the Dignity of People living with HIV/AIDS. Yes, I THINK WE ARE still having a very long way to go. Each and every individual should put the Agenda of HIV when they talk at home. I know some people, sometimes the media perceive HIV topics boring. They do not have the Empathy or show any passion but as for me because I’m living with HIV – It is in my Veins and Blood, I feel that I cannot run away from it – and that makes me to do tremendous Job in terms of education and prevention. I think our biggest challenge now is to Focus on Teenagers. When I’m with Youth I feel so good, Challenged and Recharged. All we need to do together is to find effective solutions to this multifaceted problem (HIV/AIDS), we need to act now against the scourge of it in our Societies especially our Youth.

My message to the people out there is that “It’s enough, in the western Cape alone we have more than 15 percent of people living with THE VIRUS, yet we still have those who say they are not ready to be tested – I must tell you if you are one of those, you are in a waiting list of Death since you allow AIDS to accumulate.” I’m hoping that together we can unite and bring change to Thousands of South africans who are living under the Dark Clouds. I have learnt a lot during the past few years that I’ve known that I’m living with the virus, I have learnt to do my Job in a better way, and have inner peace within me. I’m now having the ability to deal with things creatively without hurting or oppressing others.

I have also learnt that the only thing that I can change is myself but by changing myself I can encourage others to change. I have learnt to continue being myself even if I’m laughed at, scolded at and threatened – with patience of course, I am now able to treat other people fairly, honestly and lovingly. I always think that and that has helped me – If God brings you in a Situation, He will bring you through it…I’m so honoured to have parents like mine, I feel so Blessed in this World in so many ways – they thaught me to always humble myself, to be grounded at all times and to treat people the way I want to be treated. My mom always say “If the Robbots are Red – they won’t stay Red for the rest of your life, they will become green even in your side”. God bless you all Positive Heroes – Stories like Ours need to be Shared. Long Live Positive HEROES, LONG LIVE…