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South Africa: Mashatile to Participate in World Aids Day Yarn Bombing

Photo: Wendy Stone/IRIN
HIV Testing

Pretoria — Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile will mark World Aids Day, by joining in the Yarn Bombing of a tree at the Hillcrest AIDS Centre, outside Durban.

Yarn Bombing is the latest global trend in public visual art such as crochet or knit graffiti.

"This unusual Visual Arts project, aims to raise awareness around HIV and AIDS in a fun, playful manner. It will also create employment for those infected and affected by the disease, specifically the community within the Valley of 1000 Hills," said Mashatile.

The plan is to wrap the tree at the entrance to the Hillcrest Aids Centre in crocheted squares made by the Centre's crafters.

"The squares will be sewn together around the trunk and branches; it is going to be bright and cheerful," added Paula Thomson of the Hillcrest Aids Centre.

The Yarn Bombing, which is supported by the Department of Arts and Culture, the Hillcrest Aids Centre and local residents, has resulted in over R170 000.00 being put back into the community.

At least 140 crafters have been taught to crochet as well as 130 school children from five different schools. Local religious bodies, old age homes and businesses are also contributing crocheted squares.

"We are supporting this initiative because we too believe the creative economy can be at the centre of our endeavours, to grow the economy, create jobs and build sustainable livelihoods. The work being done by the Hillcrest Aids Centre and the surrounding community is a great example of how using Arts and Crafts can empower and up-skill even the most marginalised amongst us," said Mashatile.

The Department of Arts and Culture through the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy has identified key policy interventions that will further support the national growth and development of the creative economy.

This project also highlights the real achievements that can be made in the lives of our people, if we, the public and the private sector work together, he added.

The Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (HACT) is a faith based, non-profit organisation that supports and empowers people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

Woza Moya is the income generation faculty of HACT. Woza Moya proactively equips people through training and job creation to be self-sufficient. Some of its well-known "Dreams for Africa projects" are the 'Dreams for Africa Chair', "the Green Suit", "the Little Traveller" and the 4m long beaded "African love letter".

The Hillcrest Aids Centre will also be holding a community involvement week from the 26th - 30th November, where the public are invited to help yarn bomb and learn how to crochet.

The Centre hopes to undertake its largest HIV and AIDS testing drive this month and the public have been encouraged to pop in and get tested.

"We have brought an international concept to South Africa and are the first to do it on such a grand scale.

"We are hopeful this will be the largest Yarn Bombed tree in South Africa, if not in Africa," Thomson optimistically said.

The Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (HACT) is a faith based, non-profit organisation that supports and empowers people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

The public is invited to join this year's World AIDS Day celebration on 1December 2012, under the beautifully Yarn Bombed Tree at 26 Old Main road, Hillcrest.

There will be entertainment, crafts, a kiddie's area, a yarn exhibition 'All things Yarn', a tea garden and food stalls. It will be a fun-filled day all in support of the community.

For more information please visit: www.hillaids.org.za

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