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 CITY – Part 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.
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.
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
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.
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".
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
NEW YORK CITY – Part 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.
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."
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
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
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
—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