Benedict Sandile Khumalo

Benedict Sandile Khumalo, Durban International CRS, South Africa

 

Meet Benedict Sandile Khumalo, a resilient advocate and leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He currently serves as the Chairperson of the Community Advisory Board at Durban International (Enhancing Care Foundation) in South Africa. The board consists of 11 active members representing various organizations and sectors, including faith-based organizations, NGOs, the LGBTQI community, people with disabilities, women, people living with HIV, Youth, traditional healers, and healthcare workers. In addition to his role as Chairperson, Benedict serves as a CSS representative for the ACTG committees ART TSG and Neurology. This is where his dedication and passion lie.

 

In the tumultuous years of 1998 to 2000, when a new democratic government emerged in South Africa, Benedict found himself at the forefront of a crisis. The HIV epidemic claimed countless lives, instilling fear and despair. Personally affected by the virus, Benedict faced the grim reality and decided to take action. Fueled by the dire need for affordable medicine, he played an active role in pressuring the government to amend laws and make life-saving treatments accessible to all.

 

Despite initial victories, challenges persisted as the government questioned scientific facts. Undeterred, Benedict joined in legal action against his own government to ensure pregnant women living with HIV received the necessary medications. In July 2002, the government was unanimously ordered to provide treatment, marking a crucial triumph over fear and stigma.

 

Benedict’s journey continued as he joined the Treatment Action Campaign, becoming a Prevention Treatment Literacy Practitioner. Through his role, he tirelessly educated communities on HIV, transmission methods, and prevention strategies. Empowering people living with HIV became his mission to combat stigma. Serving as the provincial secretary of TAC-KZN, he innovatively promoted education through treatment literacy, collaborating with various stakeholders and community radio stations.

 

Passionate about science, Benedict delved into ART, TB, hepatitis B, cancer, and mental health advocacy. His involvement in CABs enriched his understanding of research and development processes. As the Chairperson of the CAB at Durban International, he utilized scientific knowledge to shape advocacy efforts, bridging the gap between science and community perspectives.

 

Benedict’s activism extended to influencing policy changes for people living with HIV. Using science as a powerful tool, he engaged in debates, discussions, and legal battles to be the voice of the voiceless. Today, he leads Advocacy For Change (AFC), focusing on TB, hepatitis B, and cancer. Volunteering as the head of advocacy and mobilization, Benedict collaborates with schools, clinics, churches, universities, and communities to provide information and drive positive change.

 

In the face of ongoing challenges, Benedict remains committed to the struggle, advocating for those affected by cancer, hepatitis B, and TB. With Advocacy For Change, he continues to educate and mobilize communities, leaving an indelible mark on the fight against HIV/AIDS. The journey may be tough, but Benedict Sandile Khumalo’s resilience ensures that the struggle continues.