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South Africa Tour: March 1-16th, 2007

Thembi went on a two-week speaking tour. Check out her blog from the tour.
And, check out this 5-minute video of the tour [.mp4]

Thembi with kids from the Itipini Clinic outside of Umthatha, South Africa


US Tour 2006

During her trip to the US, Thembi presented her story to high school and college students, Congressional staff in DC, AIDS doctors in Boston, celebrities in Los Angeles, and HIV positive teens in Chicago. Read, view slideshows and learn more about The US AIDS Awareness Tour below.

NEW YORK CITYPart 1              APRIL 12 - APRIL 22

Thembi presents her story at UNICEF, Wesleyan College, the Lower East Side Girls Club, GMHC, and the Open Society Institute. She does interviews with WNYC, BET, AP and Newsweek. She records a video diary for MTV. We have our first large public presentation at Cooper Union, hosted by Ira Glass. Thembi and Melikhaya hailed New York taxis. (One taxi driver asked, "Are you Thembi? I just heard your story on the radio.") They stay in their first hotel room. They walk over the Brooklyn Bridge hoping to spot Lil' Kim. They fall in love with New York City.

» View slideshow

WASHINGTON DC              APRIL 23 - APRIL 25

Thembi is a guest on WAMU and NPR's Talk of the Nation . We have our second public presentation at Foundry Methodist Church, hosted by NPR's Melissa Block. Thembi presents her story for Congressional staff at the US House of Representatives and gets a personal tour of the Capitol from Congresswoman Betty McCollum. Melikhaya is excited to photograph the Capitol because everyone knows that building in South Africa, he says, but they think it's the White House.

» View slideshow

BOSTON              APRIL 26 - APRIL 28

Thembi presents her story at Partners In Health, Paul Farmer's organization. She is a guest on the WBUR program, Here and Now . We have our third public presentation at MATCH School. At some point, Thembi and Melikhaya slip away to see some Renaissance paintings.

» View slideshow

NEW YORK – PART ll (The CNN Chapter)              APRIL 28 - APRIL 30

We get a call from CNN. They are putting together a panel of experts on AIDS for a show that will be broadcast around the world. Would Thembi join Bill Clinton, Richard Gere and others on the panel? Thembi doesn't hesitate for a moment, especially when she learns that CNN will provide a limo for the day.

» View slideshow
» Watch a clip [.mov]

LOS ANGELES             MAY 1 - MAY 3

Thembi presents her story to a packed auditorium on the UCLA campus one night, and a packed auditorium of celebrities at CAA (Creative Artists Agency) the next night. She is interviewed on the NPR program, News & Notes.   We drive down Hollywood Boulevard looking for Eddie Murphy. And we go to Venice Beach where Thembi rides a bike for the first time, and Melikhaya earns the nickname, "Speedy".

» View slideshow

CHICAGO             MAY 4 - MAY 6

"When I looked at the crowd of teenagers I realized that not long ago I was sitting where they are, listening to someone talk about AIDS. And I didn't take it seriously. I don't want them to make the same mistake."
—Thembi at a presentation for high school students at the South African Consulate in Chicago

Thembi presents her story to high school students. She meets with HIV positive teens at the Core Center. She is introduced to Senator Barak Obama at a dinner. And we have our final public presentation at the HotHouse Performance Space.

» View slideshow

NEW YORK CITYPart lll             MAY 6 - MAY 10

Thembi and Melikhaya spend a few days being normal tourists before they head back to South Africa. They visit the Statue of Liberty, shop in Chinatown, and go see The Lion King (and get invited backstage). After four weeks and five cities, Thembi and Melikhaya are ready to head home to South Africa.

» View slideshow


"I was captivated by the lilting accent and tempo of Thembi's voice. Then I was mesmerized by her story and began to cry without being conscious of my tears. Like all of us, she just wants to live long enough to see her child get a little bigger."

—Listener from Minneapolis, MN



Words cannot really express the emotions I experienced after our evening with Thembi. We have great admiration not only for the way she is managing her health but also for the way she is handling all of the emotional implications for anyone who is HIV positive.

My husband has been HIV positive for the last eight years and while his physical health is fine he has struggled emotionally and I am most worried at this point about his mental health. We purchased the CD and my hope is that he is able to find some comfort as the boys and I did last night.

—Public presentation attendee, Washington DC



"This was incredibly moving, heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. What an amazing person."

—Listener in Los Angeles



This was a very moving, empowering and unbiased documentary. I have been HIV positive for the last 10 years, undetectable and in good health; I realize the importance of having HIV therapy available. The cost of the medicines is still a luxury for many of us. I hope this kind of documentary helps to make medications accessible to all, and not only to those who can afford it. Great Job!

—Listener from New York City



Thembi's story does a beautiful job putting a face on what has been a faceless epidemic for too long Her strength and willingness to share her story is truly inspiring. I am so very proud of how strong Thembi is, while living with a disease that frightens so many. Thank you.

—Listener from Kent, Ohio



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