The Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa—a distinguished group of former Presidents and influential African leaders—hosted a dinner in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 13 April to celebrate the role played by partnerships in ending the AIDS epidemic.
The evening included speeches to welcome five new Champions, a powerful contribution from a mother living with HIV and a special musical performance from Loyiso Bala, UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for South Africa. Private sector representatives also pledged their support to move forward with the Champions.
Champions who attended the dinner included Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana and Chairperson of the Champions, Kenneth Kaunda, former President of Zambia, Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of Mali, and Kgalema Motlanthe, former President of South Africa.
The dinner came at the end of the first of three days of meetings and talks between the Champions and their partners to mark a strengthened commitment to ensuring that all children are born free from HIV and that both children and mothers living with HIV have access to life-saving treatment. During the day, the Champions also announced that they are extending the scope of their work to cover adolescents and HIV.
Partners attending the three day-meeting include UNAIDS, the South African Development Community (SADC), the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the Economic Community of West African States and the South African Broadcasting Corporation) Foundation.
"The 21st century can only be Africa's century if our young people manage to stay healthy and free from new HIV infection, because the inconvenient fact shows us that they are at high risk of new infections."
Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana and Chair of the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation
“I am honoured to attend this very important meeting. I am going to work and work until the job of ending the AIDS epidemic is done. I don’t know about you but I’m ready.”
Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi
"Once the cause of ending AIDS is attained, the Champions become winners and we render ourselves irrelevant."
Kgalema Motlanthe, former President of South Africa
“We have the knowledge and the science to end the epidemic, but we need political leadership to break the complacency and to restore the urgency to the AIDS response.”
Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director, UNAIDS
"We have a duty to protect young people and provide them with the continuity of care. We must realize that we can’t do business or grow our economies with an unhealthy workforce.”
Brian Brink, representative of the private sector
"The Champions can be our voices so that governments can be encouraged to provide HIV prevention, treatment and care services to all women living with HIV."
Lorraine Mashishi, representative of women living with HIV