Prudence Mabele, leading HIV activist, dies


Leading HIV/Aids and gender activist Prudence Mabele has died, aged 46.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s leading advocate for people living with HIV and Aids and a respected gender activist, Prudence Nobantu Mabele, has died from pneumonia at the age of 46.

Mabele was the president for the Society for Women and Aids in Africa. She broke ground in 1992 when she became the first black woman to publicly reveal her HIV-positive status in South Africa.

Mabele’s family announced her death on Monday night. “She passed away from pneumonia on 10 July,” said the family in a statement.

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On Tuesday Grassroots American non-governmental organisation Thousand Currents paid tribute to Mabele saying: “Our hearts are broken upon hearing the news that the force of nature Prudence Mabele has departed the earth. Our deepest condolences go to her family, friends, and the staff, board, and members of Positive Women’s Network, South Africa.

“So, so many people have been touched by her groundbreaking work for the last 20+ years. A long time partner of ours, Nobantu inspired and guided our work with her brilliance, wisdom, and courage. We will miss her dearly. May Prudence rest in peace and in power.”

As one of South Africa’s leading spokesperson and an advocate for people living with HIV and Aids, in 2004 Mabele carried the Olympic torch as part of an international torch relay for the 2004 Olympics in Greece.
She was also one of the founding members of the Bring Back Our Girls South Africa campaign.

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Described by her family as a leading advocate for people living with HIV and Aids, Mabele was a respected gender activist. She was also the founder and executive director of the Positive Women’s Network and deputy chair of the South African National Aids Council.

Details of the memorial service and funeral were yet to be announced.