First black woman in South Africa to reveal HIV status to be honoured by the International AIDS Society

By Wallace Mawire

Prudence Mabele
Prudence Mabele

The International AIDS Society (IAS) has announced the creation of the Prudence Mabele Prize, a new endowment named in honour of the first black woman to publicly reveal her HIV-positive status in South  Africa.

According to the IAS, the prize will be awarded to a female-identified advocate of HIV and gender justice. It is reported that this is the largest prize ever awarded at an International AIDS Conference. It is also endowed by the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundations (OSF), in partnership with the Positive Women’s Network of South Africa, the IAS says.

IAS also says that nominations are now being accepted and the deadline to submit is 14 May, 2018. It is also added that Prudence Mabele was a trailblazing activist for the rights of women and people living with HIV. She was a founding member of the Treatment Action Campaign and founder of the Positive Women’s Network.

According to the IAS, the legacy of her activism and influence are evident throughout the response to HIV and gender inequity, and it is for that reason that she is being honoured for her courage and commitment with a prize in her name.

IAS also adds that the Prudence Mabele Prize will be awarded biennially to honour the radical and courageous work of women and female-identified persons making deep connections between the fight against HIV, feminism, and gender and reproductive justice.

It is also added as the largest financial commitment ever received by one HIV and gender justice advocate, a selection committee consisting of women living with HIV, advocates for gender justice and representatives of the OSF, Ford Foundation and IAS will oversee the call for nominations and the selection of the honoree.

It is further added that this year’s recipient, whose work and personal commitment best embodies the values, spirit and activism of Prudence Mabele, will be publicly honoured at a designated high-level session at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018). During the event, the prize amount will be announced and presented to the honoree, which will be followed by remarks from other prominent HIV and gender justice advocates and leaders.

The selection committee says that it looks forward to receiving nominations for women and those who identify as female, doing innovative work in HIV and gender justice that exemplifies the prestige of the award and honours Prudence Mabele’s memory.

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