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ICW Global Speak Up

July 2017

Nothing For Us Without Us


Prudence photo courtesy of UNAIDS

The international Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) has learned with shock and sadness of the sudden death of our sister Prudence Mabele from South Africa.She was the deputy chairperson at The South Africa National AIDS Council (SANAC), Founding Director of Positive Women’s Network and also the founding member of National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NAPWA) and Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

Prudence is a pioneer of the women’s movement and will be remembered for her fearless advocacy that has continued to represent the agenda of women and girls in the HIV response. A renowned human rights and gender activist she was on the front line of advocacy efforts that realised increased access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy for many people living with HIV at a time when the effects of AIDS resulted in a lot of deaths particularly among communities in Africa.She was also an advocate for LGBTQ rights.

Her Strength and energy defined her passion for equality and rights, her warmth and laughter fostered friendships the world over. She is widely mourned and will be greatly missed.

We share some of the thoughts and heartfelt condolences from our sisters below;-

“There are no words to describe the heartache I feel in this moment hearing about the loss of my great friend and Sister Prudence Mabele. In 1993 we first met in SA. You had just gone public with your status, a very young woman brave, yet scared. You turned that fear into fire and saved so many lives. Every time I would see you through the years I would ask, "how are you doing?" and you would always say you were doing OK but "still no meds" inspired me to fight for those meds and keep fighting until no one is left behind. You fought so many battles. I promise to keep fighting in your name. You have inspired me for 25 years and I am so very very grateful to have called you my friend and sister. Rest peacefully beautiful friend. I will miss you so much.”- Shari Margolese

Prudence you will be deeply missed. Thanks for "Amandla, Awethu". Thanks for the unlimited power in sisterhood!”- L’Orangelis Thomas- CYWAG

“Prudence will be remembered for being among the first women in Southern Africa to share publicly their HIV positive status and has been involved in advocacy alongside many HIV and AIDS activists for many many years. I will remember her as a woman of substance, strong character who believed and stood by her ideologies and fought got the rights of those who were marginalized. As a founding member of Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition (PAPWC) she will be truly truly missed.” – Dorothy Onyango- PAPWC Chair.

“I too am so so sad to hear this news about Prudence. She was such a special lady to so many of us. Her strength and courage will stay with us in our hearts.” Alice Welbourn Salamander Trust

“Words fail me. A sister gone too soon. Another giant tree fallen... moe Mai moe Mai te Rangatira Prudence Mabele”- Marama Pala ICW Acting Chair.

ICW condoles with the colleagues, family, friends and loved ones of Prudence and honors her incredible legacy.


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