US honours HIV/Aids art winners

HARARE - The United States Embassy, with support from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar), will commemorate the 13th annual Auxillia Chimusoro Awards in Masvingo on Monday.

During the event, which will mark the 10th anniversary of Pepfar, three winners of the 2013 HIV/Aids Art Challenge will be honoured.

Orton B Singine and Sharon Maisiri of Harare Polytechnic made a joint submission and won the first prize; Takunda Billiat of NGZSV came second and Tendai Arnold Nhanga of Mutare Polytechnic came third.

Millicent Hadziindi of NGZSVAD and Cosmas R Manyopo of Chinhoyi University of Technology received honourable mention for jointly taking the fourth position.

The top 12 winners will be featured in a Pepfar 2014 calendar for public distribution.

The full display of submissions will travel around Zimbabwe in 2014.

This year’s awards competition was open to art students from four polytechnic colleges (Masvingo, Mutare, Bulawayo, and Harare), the Chinhoyi University of Technology (Cut), Peter Birch School of Art and the National Gallery School of Visual Art and Design (NGZSV).

The student artists were asked to incorporate a minimum of two HIV/Aids-related themes in each design work to honour Chimusoro.

A team of seven judges from the arts community, the National Aids Council (Nac) and the US Embassy Pepfar/health team selected the top three winners.

The winners will be receiving cash prizes and certificates from US ambassador Bruce Wharton.

Since 2000, the United States embassy has commemorated the life of HIV/Aids activist Chimusoro through an awards ceremony recognising outstanding Zimbabweans in the HIV/Aids sector. Auxillia was the first woman in Zimbabwe to disclose her positive HIV status in 1989 when stigma and discrimination were prevalent.

This year’s commemoration is being held in Masvingo, where Auxillia was born and worked. A total of 25 submissions were received from six institutions.

One of the judges commended the programme for contributing to young people’s awareness of the national response to HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe.

“We are very pleased by the high level of appreciation by young people that HIV remains a big public health problem. The vision of most young people is an HIV-free generation.

“It is our hope that young people will avoid risky practices and adopt positive behaviours to ensure that the vision becomes a reality in the very near future,” said Oscar Mundida, national behaviour change manager at the National Aids Council.

Pepfar (www.pepfar.gov) was established in 2003 and marked its 10th anniversary of saving lives in May 2013.

The US government, through Pepfar, has provided nearly $450 million to Zimbabwe to help the country combat the Aids epidemic.

In 2013, Pepfar pledged $95 million dollars directly to Zimbabwe in response to HIV/Aids.

Pefpar coordinates with the government of Zimbabwe towards attaining an Aids-free generation.

This is done through the scale-up of a combination of HIV prevention, treatment, and care and support interventions.

 

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