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Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Opening ceremony held for new HIV/AIDS Unit offices

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The official opening ceremony of the new HIV/ AIDS Unit offices of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology took place on Monday the 17th of March, 2008 at the Cape Town campus.

The event, which commenced at the Piazza and then proceeded onto the second floor of the Administration building, was jointly hosted by Phumie Mayongo (Peer Education Officer of the Unit) and Mr Ashraf Mohammed (Head of the HIV/AIDS Unit).

The aim of the ceremony was not only to open the new offices but also to appeal to students to be more aware of the crisis. This was done by marketing the Male Indaba and Female Lekgotla scheduled to take place on Wednesday the 19th of March, 2008 on the Bellville campus.

The aim of the Indaba and Lekgotla is to further market the Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) Campus Drive which is scheduled for the 25th and 26th of March, 2008 on the Cape Town Campus, the 27th March on Granger Bay Campus and the 9th and 10th of April on the Bellville Campus.

The ceremony was opened by Ashraf Mohammed, the Head of the HIV/AIDS Unit The keynote speaker for the day was Ms Adriana Belafonte (daughter of the famous singer and actor Harry Belafonte). Ms. Cora Njoli-Motale, Dean of Students, addressed the students in the Piazza about incorporating HIV/AIDS into Student Leadership.

The Student Representative Council (SRC) of the institution also took a stand against the national crisis. The Central Chairperson of the SRC, Saziso Matiwane, publicly stated in his address to the students that he would be tested at the forthcoming VCT Campus Drive and would encourage that all SRC members be tested. He motivated all students and staff to do likewise.

Further events of the day included a traditional dance performance by Iqhude, a positive lifestyle talk by Zintle Mobbs and Faghmeda Milleer (who are both based in the HIV/AIDS Unit) who themselves are HIV positive and render care and support to students and staff on campus) This was followed by a request by Ashraf Mohammed for all to remain standing in a minute of silence in memory of those all infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and TB.

A traditional prayer and blessing session was conducted by the by the Imbongi Just outside the new HIV/AIDS Unit offices. This was preceded by a “Guard of Honor” of the HIV/AIDS Student Peer Educators which included nine French students, two Dutch students and several students from various countries in Africa.

A candle-light procession by these Peer Educators also took place. According to Ashraf Mohammed the three lit candles held by each Peer Educator at the procession symbolised the ABC strategy of HIV/AIDS Prevention namely “Abstinence,” “Be faithful,” and “ Condomise.”

Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony conducted by Ms Cora Njoli-Motale, an interfaith prayer was conducted by Ms Matiwane Nomabhucwa a Peer Educator (who is also an SRC member).

Students and staff can contact the Peer Education Officer of the HIV/ AIDS Unit, Phumie Mayongo (tel 021 460 4253, email mayongop@cput.ac.za) for further information about the VCT drive and future events organized by the unit.

By Tyrone Van Heerden, Marketing and Communication Department

Written by CPUT News

Email: news@cput.ac.za