Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Thembi’s AIDS Diary

We first met Thembi Ngubane when she was 19 and living in one of the largest townships in South Africa. At the time, the country was in the middle of a crisis that nobody wanted to talk about: AIDS. More than five million people were living with the disease in South Africa, but the stigma was silencing.

Thembi was one of the few people who spoke openly about her illness. We were struck by her candor, sense of humor and her courage. We gave Thembi a tape recorder and she spent a year documenting her life.

This week on the Radio Diaries Podcast, we’re revisiting Thembi’s story. This episode includes a new interview with her daughter Onwabo, who is now 14.


Thembi and Onwabo

Thembi and Melikhaya with their baby Onwabo

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