Andile

Andile moved to Cape Town in 1993 from the Eastern Cape in search of a job. He made a home with his uncle, who has since passed away forcing Andile to afford a home of his own. He struggled to hold down a steady job, and life continued to get harder when he was diagnosed with TB in 1998. While in the hospital, Andile was tested and discovered that he was HIV+. With no income, Andile relied on government grants for medicine to cure his TB; however, after he was well again, the grant fell way, again leaving him with no income. Andile joined one of Wola Nani's support groups in 2000 and thought of it as a place he could go just to talk and share his experiences and fears about living with HIV. Through attending Wola Nani support groups, Andile became more comfortable with his status and also received a food parcel from time to time.

Andile continues to go to Wola Nani support groups in Philippi every Wednesday. He has also been more open about disclosing his status in his community. At first, his neighbors called him names, pointed at him and labeled him as "the one with HIV," but they have since come around and now try to help him out when they can. He returns the favor and will help them on their houses or other odd jobs if they need the help. Andile's health has continued to improve since starting ARV treatment. His CD4 count has increased from under 180 to over 525 and he now feels healthy and has abandoned some of his bad habits, like drinking, that he used to revert to as a coping mechanism before the support groups. His wife has a good CD4 count and does not require medication and they remain sources of support for each other.

By 2003, Andile still could not secure any further government grants or find a steady job, so he joined Wola Nani's income generation programme to earn money as part of the team producing decorated light bulbs. The work is driven by demand from customers of Wola Nani so some months are good in terms of income but sometimes many months go by without work. Thus, in order to maintain his income, he is currently being trained in papier mache and will soon join the team making bowls, picture frames and other papier mache crafts in addition to the light bulb project. The money he makes from the income generation programme gives him the ability to buy food and the satisfaction of being able to provide for his family and support his new wife, whom he just married in 2007. He used to feel "useless," but since joining Wola Nani has discovered newfound feelings of pride and accomplishment.