South Africa: Gail Johnson Is Still Around to Remind Us That South Africa Has the Highest Number of HIV-Positive People in the World


Monday marked 19 years since the death of child AIDS activist Nkosi Johnson. The woman he called mom was at the forefront of the fight from the beginning - and is still there.

The founder of Nkosi's Haven, Gail Johnson attempts to manage a multitude of tasks each day in order to keep the children's home functional. Seeking funds to keep the centre afloat is just one of many challenges. Picture: Chris Collingridge

A Harley in the garage would be nice, maybe also a bank balance that didn't hover so close to red, but Gail Johnson just laughs these days about her "could-have-been" life.

Back in early 1990s Johnson ran her own PR consultancy, loved fast cars and even once joined the crew of a yacht sailing back to South Africa after having taken part in the Cape to Rio yacht race.

Even with the glam and the carefree days of her life back then, she wasn't the kind of person to look away or let someone else do the heavy lifting. In 1990 she became a founding member of a home for HIV-infected men in Houghton.

"Gay, white men with HIV was about as taboo as it got for...

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