During its September Diversity Week, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) celebrated World AIDS Day in recognition of people affected and infected by HIV and AIDS in its community. Each year, UJ brings together people of different cultures, backgrounds and nationalities at the four campuses at Soweto, Doornfontein, Auckland Park Bunting Road and Auckland Park Kingsway to reflect on World Aids Day (1 December) during the Heritage Month of September in South Africa.
This year, the Soweto campus buzzed with the music of South African kwaito artist Busiswa, a young Xhosa singer and songwriter. Under the theme “Celebrating Survivors, Celebrating Life”, the University staff and students, together with UJ’s Institutional Office for HIV and AIDS (IOHA) external partners, UJ wrapped up the Diversity Week celebrations on Friday, 16 September 2016 at the Soweto Campus Stadium.
The event was organised in partnership with stakeholders such as Choma Mobile Magazine from HIVSA, the Anova Health Institute and ISO, offering students and staff the opportunity to #knowtheirnumbers by getting tested for HIV while various vocal and dance performances from the UJ Community kept spirits high.
As a build up to UJ World Aids Day and Diversity Day, trees were adopted at the four UJ campuses, dressed red with multi-coloured ribbons and messages from students and staff leading up to the main event. Trees symbolise life. Multi-coloured ribbons symbolise survivors of HIV and all other chronic illnesses.
“The Annual UJ World Aids Day event celebrates UJ’s commitment to embracing diversity as well as addressing issues relating to stigma and discrimination. This is in line with one of the University’s inherent values, ubuntu,” said Mrs Rainny Magcai, Head: IOHA, UJ.
World Aids Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention, care and support programmes.
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