?My family Aids agony? – Mdladlana exclusive
14 October 2008
Membathisi MdladlanaLabour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has poured his heart out to the Daily Dispatch over his family?s Aids agony.
He spoke to reporter Ntando Makhubu during an exclusive interview in East London last Friday, Mdladlana revealed how he had now lost three close family members to the disease, while another six ? and probably more ? are infected with HIV.
A day later he was in Keiskammahoek, standing at the graveside of his nephew Sidima Mdladlana, 47, paying his final respects to the family?s latest victim of the scourge. Sidima had died of Aids complications a week before, a year after losing his wife to the disease.
?He was drinking himself to death ? it got worst after his wife died,? said Mdladlana during Friday?s interview.
Membathisi MdladlanaSidima, Mdladlana said, was slowly rotting. His fingernails were peeling off and his body was riddled with sores. ?But he continued drinking.?
After the Aids-related death of his niece Ntombizine Mdladlana in 2006 the family agreed to go public in an attempt to educate the community.
About her death, he said: ?It was unbelievable, so fast. First it was just a headache, and then to hospital, where they discovered the virus, but they said they would treat TB first,? said Mdladlana.
Membathisi Mdladlana?Then there was meningitis, and the combination of TB and meningitis was bad. By the time I went to see her she couldn?t talk. She was thin, then she died.? Ntombizine?s funeral was used as a platform to discuss Aids, and to drive an awareness campaign in the community.
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DAILY DESPATCH 13th October 2008