Lindelwa

Lindelwa is originally from the Eastern Cape but relocated to the Western Cape due to she says, the abundance of jobs that were available - a huge improvement from the rural life and hardships associated with living in the Eastern Cape. Thus, after finishing school, she headed west with her family and now lives with her three children, who are ages 13, 9 and 2. Although the children's father lives in the Western Cape as well, he does not provide any support. She says it is very difficult to care for the three kids on her own because she must feed them, clothe them and pay their school fees all on her own.

Lindelwa first found out about being HIV+ in 1999 after giving birth to her second child. He fell incredibly ill at just a few months old, so she brought him to see a doctor. When the doctor discovered that her son was HIV+, she was tested and found to be positive as well. Lindelwa recalls being happy when she found out as it was a relief to know why her baby was so sick. Through a clinic in the township of Khayelitsha, where she lives, Lindelwa was able to acquire antiretroviral treatment for her son and continues to administer the drugs to him daily, so he stays well. The education about mother-to-child-transmission, which she received after her second child allowed her to take the proper treatment and precautions when she was pregnant a third time, thus her youngest child has tested negative. Lindelwa also says that the support groups she joined were helpful because it gave her the chance to converse with other mothers who had similar emotions and fears.

Lindelwa has disclosed her status to her mother and is thankful for her supportive reaction and comfort. When she fell ill with meningitis, her mother traveled from the Eastern Cape to visit and help take care of her and the family. Her mother has since returned to the Eastern Cape, but Lindelwa misses having her stay with her and her family. She says that her eldest daughter is very helpful and will even help with making the crafts sometimes by cutting the paper. The money she earns from the income generation programme with Wola Nani allows her to pay for food, school and almost everything else they need to survive. She says that being able to support her family is empowering and gives her good feelings.