Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is one of the leaders who have pledged their financial support towards a new campaign aimed at eradicating HIV/Aids. File picture
Johannesburg – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is one of the leaders who have pledged their financial support towards a new campaign aimed at eradicating HIV/Aids and assisting those living with the virus.

Ramaphosa last month donated money to the Splash for Hope national fund-raising campaign established by civil society organisations.

The project, launched at Ubuntu Kraal in Orlando West in Soweto on Thursday, has seen other international organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UNAids South Africa come on board.

Radio personality JJ Onkgopotse Tabane said that in the past South Africa went through a painful era of denialism under former president Thabo Mbeki’s leadership and that of late health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

“In the olden days, we experienced many deaths. People gave the pandemic a new identity and called it cancer. You would wonder why a 25-year-old would die from cancer. However, we have made progress through treatment and interventions,” Tabane said.

Archbishop Mbulelo Dyasi of People Living With HIV said that while civil society appreciated donor funds from the international community, it was time South Africans also stood up for themselves and supported their own initiatives and not just rely on these donors, because they would one day disappear.

The Gates Foundation’s local representative, David Allen, committed $15000 (R196 500) towards the cause.

Responding to Dyasi’s comments, Allen said that while they appreciated that local communities want to steer their own ship, the foundation would not disappear but would continue lending a helping hand.

Communities and politicians were also encouraged to play an active role.

The campaign, which runs throughout April and May, requires individuals to embark on a Dunk or Donate Challenge.

According to the event organisers, people will dare each other to either donate or get dunked into a pool of water if they don't. Once they take up the challenge, participants can upload videos on social media to raise awareness using the hashtag #DunkorDonate.

To donate, text Hope to 36329.

Politics Bureau