Former Miss South Africa raises awareness for HIV/Aids through fashion

Shudufhadzo Musida. Picture: William Majaja.

Shudufhadzo Musida. Picture: William Majaja.

Published Jul 9, 2024


FASHION is a form of art that is not only about looking good but can be used as an expression to raise awareness for a good cause.

Former Miss South Africa (2020) Shudufhadzo Musida partnered with local fashion brand Imprint ZA and #ForeverWena to raise awareness for HIV/Aids.

With 7.8 million South Africans living with HIV, adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) of 15 – 24 years old, are disproportionately affected, accounting for 25% of new infections.

The high rates of infection among AGYW are linked to high community HIV prevalence, gender inequality, and age-discordant relationships.

Young South African men are less likely to be diagnosed and treated, often transmitting HIV to younger female partners, perpetuating an inter-generational cycle of transmission.

Shudufhadzo Musida.

Musida has decided to use her influence to teach people more about HIV/Aids and how they can protect themselves.

“I work in the gender equity and health space, specifically mental health, and the stats that I have seen on the prevalence of HIV/Aids among the youth are alarming, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“I chose to join the campaign as an advocate for an HIV-free generation, and that starts with education in the most accessible and relatable way – getting the information about where people are and not where we want them to be,” she said.

“Every voice on this campaign, not just mine but the voices of the people who follow my platform, will extend and take this campaign further in different communities.

“We’ve seen the power of ‘word of mouth’, and social media amplifies that ‘word of mouth’. I saw how one step, such as ‘Mindful Mondays’, significantly changed mental health through education.

“The premise was that people fear what they do not know, and the more we empower them, the more they make informed health choices.”

The Limpopo-born beauty believes that fashion can be used as a powerful statement for change, that is why she worked with Mzukisi Mbane of Imprint ZA to design a show-stopper dress that promotes safe sex, the destigmatisation of HIV/Aids and all the safety precautions to follow.

“Fashion is not just a form of art; it is a language that has shaped and defined various eras of human history, offering us a glimpse into their narratives and dialogues.

“More than that, fashion has the power to drive social change, as we have witnessed in the discussions on women’s autonomy and their very existence,” Musida said.

#ForeverWena is a campaign aimed at reshaping the conversation on sexual health and creating a safe, judgement-free space.