New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Musicians Fight Aids

Windhoek — A CD, Namibia Alive Volume 11, featuring a collaboration of local musicians and two US Peace Corps volunteer producers, was last week launched at the Warehouse Theatre.

The CD of songs and HIV/AIDS prevention messages will be distributed free of charge to bus, taxi, and combi drivers in an effort to reach Namibians by combining public transportation, HIV/AIDS prevention and the music scene.

The production of NamibiAlive Volume II"was organised by two US Peace Corps Volunteers, Beth Phillips and Will Garneau, and funded by a PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) grant from the Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy. Speaking at the launch of NamibiAlive II, Ray Castillo, Director of the American Cultural Centre explained the importance of having musicians involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

"I want to personally thank the musicians. Musicians are at the forefront of popular culture. You are role models. You speak directly to fans and listeners through your music. You and other artists can make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I salute you in leading the way on NamibiAlive II and I hope to see you continuing to support the fight against HIV/AIDS through your music," Castillo said. Magnus Nangombe, President of Namibian Bus and Taxi Association, Beth Phillips and Will Garneau, also made remarks at the CD launch. Fans danced to performances by Formula Band, D-Naff, Stella, Kamasutra, Jerico, Gal Level, Axue, Jossy Joss, Sunny Boy, Jackson Kaujeua, Jewelz, and Stanley, some of the artists featured on the CD.

The United States Peace Corps have been in Namibia since 1990. Since then, Peace Corps Namibia has been in the field working to improve education and implement AIDS awareness and prevention initiatives. Peace Corps Namibia has over 120 volunteers posted throughout the country.

PEPFAR Namibia works in partnership with the Government as well as non-governmental, religious and community organisations in the fight against HIV/AIDS. US assistance to Namibia for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment has increased from US$24 million in 2004 to US$91 million (N$637 million), this year and is expected to increase again next year.

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