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Monday, July 15, 2024

Harare lawyer defies HIV stigma

Story by Bengani Ncube

In a powerful testament to resilience, 34-year-old Harare lawyer Kensington Marufu shared his inspiring story of living with HIV at a National AIDS Council (NAC) interface with journalists in Chinhoyi.

Diagnosed with HIV at the young age of 10 and given a mere five years to live, Marufu defied the odds and societal stigma.

His journey began in 2000, a time when HIV diagnosis was met with fear misunderstanding and discrimination.

His entire family, including his parents and brother, also tested positive.

Marufu’s father, a police officer, documented this life-changing event in his diary.

The doctor’s grim prediction was that none of them would live beyond 2005.

Sadly, the prediction proved true for Marufu’s brother who passed away in 2003 and his mother who also succumbed to the virus in 2004.

His father, however, outlived the prognosis, but died in 2006.

“My dad went beyond and succumbed to the virus in 2006,” Marufu said

With societal stigma looming large, Marufu retreated inwards. But with unwavering support from nurses, a police chaplain, and his aunt who became his guardian after his parents’ passing he found the strength to move forward.

An inheritance of US$1000, initially earmarked for an informal taxi (pirate taxi), was instead used to complete his high school education.

That crucial decision paved the way for him to pursue a Law Degree at the University of Zimbabwe, graduating within four years.

Today, Marufu is a legal officer at a legal aid firm, advocating for others.

He is also a published author, sharing his remarkable story in a book titled “Touch of Grace.”

Marufu’s story was shared at a two-day National AIDS Council (NAC) workshop for journalists.

NAC aims to keep journalists informed about their interventions towards ending HIV/AIDS by 2030.

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