Siphiwe’s journey to Cape Town

At our Fashion Show 2011, one of our Heroes, Siphiwe Ngamone, travelled all the way from Witbank to be there. Here she tells us about her Cape Town experience:

“When I heard about the Positive Heroes Fashion Show, I thought, wow, that sounds wonderful, but it is happening all the way in Cape Town. I will never get there for it. However, I am an HIV activist, working for a radio station in Mpumalanga called Emalahleni FM, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. I realised this Fashion Show, might make a wonderful story for the station, so I spoke to my station manager, and he agreed to pay for my fare to get to Cape Town.

“It was my first time visiting the Mother City. The journey was by bus, and it took a whole day and night. However, when I arrived, I fell in love with this beautiful city, the warmness of the people, and I felt like I was home.

“At the fashion show I really enjoyed myself, helping out on the day of the show, and then watching the incredible fashion on the runway during the evening. It was such a buzz just being there. But it was also an eye opener for me. It reminded me that if you are living with HIV, you need not feel low self esteem.

“I myself have been at that low point. My life as I knew it crashed down in 2004, when my husband committed suicide. He had just found out his positive HIV status. However, despite the fact that I was already getting sick myself, I still couldn’t face the truth, and ended up waiting until 2008 to confirm what I already knew – that I was also HIV positive. In the depth of my sickness, I too wanted to die.

“The Fashion Show was a wonderful thing. It showed that living with HIV is not the end of your previous life, but the beginning of new experiences living with HIV. You can still go out there and look good, and be attractive to people. And to steal Sue’s words, “If you feel good you look good and if you look good you feel good.” I just had to look around the many happy, smiling faces at the show, and those of my fellow Positive Heroes, to know that HIV is a manageable disease.

“I found the experience of the Fashion Show very interesting, and ended up holding some great interviews, which aired on Emalahleni FM on 7th November. Thank you Positive Heroes for the wonderful experience of being in Cape Town and coming to the Fashion Show!”