16 December 1998

On 16 December 1998, Gugu Dlamini, a young woman from KwaMashu, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, who was dedicated to raising awareness around HIV/AIDS and fighting against the discrimination of infected persons, was killed. Being HIV positive herself, Dlamini believed that in order to overcome the stigma of the virus and educate people across all social spheres it was imperative to talk openly about the disease. Dlamini undertook to make her HIV status public.

 On World AIDS Day, December 1, 1998, Dlamini disclosed her HIV status on television and on a Zulu-language radio station. Her public disclosure was met with anger from members of her hometown, who believed she had brought shame onto their community. Subsequent to her announcement Dlamini is reported to have been threatened by her neighbours. These threats manifested into violence when, on 16 December 1998, she was stoned and stabbed to death by a group of men from her community. Since her gruesome death, Dlamini’s name continues to be used in the fight against the stigmatization of HIV infected persons and HIV denialism. Dlamini’s daughter, Mandisa Dlamini, has since founded the Gugu Dlamini Foundation  to maintain the fight against HIV/AIDS and Gender Based Violence.