Stellenbosch University’s Africa Centre for HIV/Aids management has a new director, Vuyiseka Dubula-Majola, who herself was diagnosed with the disease in 2001 and thought she wouldn’t live long.
The centre was established in 2003 and drives education, research and community service related to HIV, and Aids management in the workplace.
Dubula-Majola succeeds founding director Jan du Toit, who will retire at the end of the year.
Dubula-Majola is a SU alumna, having completed two of her postgraduate qualifications - a postgraduate diploma and an MPhil in HIV/Aids Management - through the centre.
She has also been a lecturer at the centre for two years.
“When I was diagnosed, I thought there was no hope for me. Today, thanks to access to treatment, the mortality rate as a result of HIV/Aids, as well as mother-to-child transmissions have dropped significantly and life expectancy has increased.
“But we can’t celebrate yet because despite all the progress we’ve made, people are still becoming infected with HIV,” she said.
She has also been included in the book A to Z of Amazing South African women, a publication that honours the contribution of women to South Africa’s past, present and future. Other names in the book include Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Fatima Meer, Caster Semenya, Natalie du Toit and Thuli Madonsela.
In the book they refer to Dubula-Majola as a “heroine for our times” - someone who has beaten all the odds and is still working actively to improve the situation.
“I welcome challenges. That is how we grow.”
Dubula-Majola volunteered for the Treatment Action Campaign and served as the regional treatment literacy co-ordinator from 2002 to 2006.
“In 2007, I was the national co-ordinator for people living with HIV/Aids,” she said. - Staff Writer