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‘Isidingo’ star: ‘I’m HIV positive’

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Lesego Motsepe pic

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Lesego Motsepe, who plays Letti in the TV soap, Isidingo

It took 13 years to get to the point where she felt confident enough to reveal her HIV-positive status.

Actress Lesego Motsepe, who is best known as Letti in Isidingo, made the announcement yesterday on Kaya FM.

Motsepe was talking to their breakfast show host, Bob Mabena, as part of an awareness-raising initiative for World Aids Day.

The actress is part of a non-profit organisation, Afrikarize, which is creating new conversations on HIV/Aids as well as tackling socio-economic challenges facing the youth.

Motsepe, who played the character Letti between 1998 and 2008, said that when she found out she was HIV-positive 13 years ago, she wasn’t really shocked. This was because she had been working as an Aids ambassador for years, using puppets to teach children about the virus.

Suddenly, all the things she had been talking about became relevant in her own life.

Nevertheless, the news was life-changing.

“I went through many phases: denial, resentment, rejection and anger,” Motsepe said. “But the most important thing is that I am alive today.”

When people found out about her status, they “just hug me. They can hear in my voice I am not weak. But it has taken a lot of work, a lot of energy, to be where I am today,” Motsepe said.

She advised South Africans to know their status.

“If it’s positive, do something about it. Don’t dig your grave because you are still alive,” she said.

The actress said that she has been on antiretrovirals for just more than a year.

Recounting that her CD4 count was just 99 in October last year, she said she had been close to death’s door.

“For seven weeks, I was down. To be able to pick myself up from that and say I am going to live is something,” Motsepe said.

She said she had to be her own coach and change the way she lived. She had to stop drinking – she used to drink a lot of alcohol – and also has to watch her diet.

“It affects a lot. If I have a headache, I can’t take a headache pill. If my stomach is woozy, I can’t take anything. I can’t take anything that would interfere with the antiretrovirals,” she said.

“I decided that if I was going to live, I would not let this get me down. I don’t say I’m HIV-positive, I say HIV lives in my blood.”

She said it took 13 years to share with others that they, too, can do it.

“The human spirit is amazing,” said Motsepe. - The Star

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Anonymous, wrote

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07:52pm on 5 December 2011
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IN HIS WORD HE SAYS HE CANT GIVE US THE BURDEN WE CANT HELD WITH OUR STRENGHT HE KNOWS DAT U CAN HELD THIS

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Anonymous, wrote

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09:58am on 5 December 2011
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being HIV is not the end the is still hope for the cure hung in there and take ur pills and follow ur diet and remember GOD luvs u very much he willl never leave u nor forsake u he is the same GOD today.tomorow and everyday he will take away ur pain and he will wipe those tears away just keep on praying and in his shadow of his wing that wer u will stay and u will be protected i pray for u and ur family to be strong u are not alone we luv u lesego bless you

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Anonymous, wrote

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06:48pm on 3 December 2011
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God has created u 4 a reason,never blame Him ,He is great en He luvs u,en thank u 4 speaking out,this will give courage others to speakaccept their status.

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:49pm on 2 December 2011
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You're beautiful ...... in more ways than the obvious.

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:42pm on 2 December 2011
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u r a good example. thanx

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Gugu, wrote

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02:21pm on 2 December 2011
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I'm so proud of u sisi may god be with u, stay healthy & strong

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:04pm on 2 December 2011
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you go gal,keep living healthy and remember that God is watchin over you.

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Anonymous, wrote

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01:51pm on 2 December 2011
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I am very proud of you. It is very positive of you to want to make this world a better place and people aware of waht our wold is facing. I have a friend that is HIV positive and she came out to her close friends and her family. However, she is destroying her life by partying, she does not give her two beautiful the time of day. Her mother has to do everything for her kids. She is so irresponsible, i am actually not very impressed with her life style. I cannot speak to her about it, because she blows a gasket when you approach about things like this. I dont know what to do? She is destroying her life and the lives of other people. What should i Do?????

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diki, wrote

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01:35pm on 2 December 2011
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The human spirit is amazing, powerful stuff

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Anonymous, wrote

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12:42pm on 2 December 2011
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What a wonderfullly brave disclosure! I wish you a long, happy life and much, much success. You go, girl!

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Anonymous, wrote

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12:45pm on 2 December 2011
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Thank u cc for ur braveness of coming out. it really shows that any1 can hv this disease it doesnt live only to the poor also to the well known and respected people like you. u r my inspiration

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quakes, wrote

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12:30pm on 2 December 2011
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I am absolutely blown away by this ladies courage and all the wonderful comments that are cheering her on ..... really, we south africans must make and positive change in the fight against Hiv Aids and we thankful for people like lesego. Well done and God bless.

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Math, wrote

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12:12pm on 2 December 2011
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Well said, I'm scared of HIV and I totaly don't want this. But thats funny as a person, you don't want something but your ways of doing things lead you that (e.g. Women hunting when drunk is the way we socialise, looking at women as sex tools, criticising guys who don't have girlfriends as borring and must get a life)

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Sidles, wrote

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12:09pm on 2 December 2011
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Only if she could play Nandipha.i mean the are many of us who are tire of HIVAIDS talk from people who can't relate,Criselda included.

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KayZen, wrote

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11:58am on 2 December 2011
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Well done for coming out on your status, Lesego!

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cassius clay, wrote

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11:47am on 2 December 2011
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god Really bless you...you angel..stay strong...and gym aswell

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:43am on 2 December 2011
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She's hot

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mxolisi linton, wrote

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11:22am on 2 December 2011
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i admire her for her work and for everything she has achieved, but most of all to lead by example in regarding HivAids.Thats is what we want to see from our rolemodels, leading from the front. much love and respect Lesego Motsepe

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mark albrektsen, wrote

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11:27am on 2 December 2011
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i am proud of lesego motsepe for coming out and saying that she has aids. that was very brave of her. she is a role model to our society and i will always support her in what ever she does in life. she is a real role model.

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:20am on 2 December 2011
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I honestly admire those infected; no matter how they became infected... we all make bad decisions, some of us are just lucky to get away with it. I don't know one person who has had unprotected sex and all it takes it one moment...one choice...could change your life forever. My brother became very ill recently and was diagnosed with TB... only to be told there was no TB in his lungs...he was then referred to Groote Schuur hospital where they continued testing him as he was getting sicker and sicker. I finally asked him whether he had asked them to test for cancer or HIV... this was only after I spoke to him about... I think he has always known but because I raised the subject he felt comfortable enough to tell me... He tested positive, I felt sick and worried and even depressed for a while after he told me - it was huge for me, as we don't have parents I am mother and sister, a role I am very proud of and take very seriously... I eventually had myself also tested... I was nervous because I had engaged in unprotected sex... even though I was very aware of the HI Virus... For now we take it one day at a time... I am educating myself and him and today he is telling his wife and whatever happens I will be there for him. He is amazingly positive and it rubs off on me too... I love him more now than ever and even though the future is daunting, we will walk the road towards whatever life hands out together... To all those with family infected, don't throw them away. They need you now more than ever... Love them. That is all they need.

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