Princess Kasune Zulu: Positive Living


Princess Kasune Zulu in Zambia
Photo via Fountain of Life

Spotlight looks at the life of a Zambian woman. She has HIV, but it has given her joy and purpose.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Megan Nollet.

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And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

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In 1997, Princess Kasune Zulu heard some very difficult words. Her doctor told her:

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“Mrs. Zulu, you are HIV positive. You have six more months to live”

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HIV is deadly. It is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. It then becomes the AIDS disease. There is no cure for AIDS. After hearing this terrible news, Zulu did not become sad or angry. Instead, she made a decision. In a video by InterVarsity Press, she says:

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“I felt like a ray of light just came through my heart. And I felt this joy I could not explain. I knew from then on that I would use my life, I would give my life to becoming a voice for those affected by HIV and AIDS.”

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Today’s Spotlight is on Princess Kasune Zulu and her work to educate people about HIV and AIDS.

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Princess Zulu’s life has always been affected by AIDS. Zulu’s parents both died from AIDS when she was only 17 years old. Her brother and sister also died from AIDS. In fact, HIV and AIDS is a big problem in Zulu’s home country of Zambia. And when adults die of AIDS, they leave behind their children.

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So, the first people Zulu started helping were children in her town. Zulu saw many children in her town living without their parents. They were extremely poor. She remembered how sad and alone she felt when her parents died. So she wanted to help these other children. She started a community school for them. Zulu has always believed that education and health care are connected. She believed that if these children had any chance of a good future, they needed an education.

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She thought she would only have 20 students. But on the first day, there were 60 children! She did not know how she would teach all these students. Yet she believed it was her mission. She tells WBEZ what gave her hope. She says:

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“I felt this voice. It was a part of the Christian Bible. It said ‘I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength’. And I said ‘OK God. If you are crazy enough to trust me with ten dollars and these children, I am going to do this job.”

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This small school grew into a foundation. Today, it works to give people in Zambia clean water, health care and basic education.

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Most people in Zambia would not talk about HIV or AIDS. But Zulu wanted to share her story to help others. Dr. Manasseh Phiri also wanted more Zambians to talk about their experiences. He was a well-known doctor. And he had a television program that talked about HIV, AIDS, and other health issues. When he first met Zulu, he asked her to share her story on his radio program.

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Zulu did not know how people would react to her story. But she bravely told the truth of being HIV positive. She answered a lot of questions. There were so many questions that she decided to begin her own radio program. It was called Positive Living, and it was on the radio for five years. People’s reactions were very positive. The program was even later shared in eight other languages!

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In 2003, Zulu got one of her biggest opportunities. A friend asked Zulu if she would be part of a small group that would meet with the President of the United States. She was honoured. In the US, Zulu told about the fight against HIV and AIDS in Africa. Ever since she was told that she had HIV, she wanted to teach more people about the disease. This was now her chance. The president sat next to her at a dinner. In her book, she writes what she said to him:

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“I urged President Bush to remember that education and treatment cannot be separated. They must work together.  Young people need to get an education so they can get better jobs and learn to protect themselves. Providing more chances for education is the only way we can stop poverty.”

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Often, people are afraid to touch other people who have HIV. But at the end of their meeting, the president kissed Zulu on both cheeks. This was a big surprise! And it reminded Zulu how important it is to always see people as people. She continues to teach this truth:

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“We need to see the people living with HIV. We need to go past the numbers of people who are sick and say, ‘These are people. These could be my friends. That is my friend. That could have been my sister. That could have been my brother’. We need to put a face to HIV and AIDS if we are going to make a difference. History will ask us ‘What did you do when HIV and AIDS was around?’”

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And she wanted to help even more people in her country. In 2016, Zulu won a seat in Parliament in Zambia. Many people hide the fact that they have HIV/AIDs. But Zulu became the first Zambian lawmaker to publicly share that she had HIV. In her first speech, she asked the other members of Parliament to see HIV/AIDS in a more personal way. She does not want people to carry stigma or shame because of the disease. Zulu does not want people to be afraid. She hopes that her story will give them courage and strength.

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Princess Kasune Zulu has never stopped working for people with HIV and AIDS. She has now lived with HIV for over 20 years. And every day, she praises God for her life. On her Facebook Page, she wrote:

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“God has been good and gracious to me. To him is all the praise and honor. What can I say? Enjoy each day. Defeat every struggle. And help those who have less than you do.”

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What does HIV and AIDS look like in your country? Are any leaders there open about their HIV status? Is that important to you? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net.

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The writer of this program was Lauren Anders Visser. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Princess Kasune Zulu: Positive Living.”

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Visit our website to download our free official app for Android or Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you have leaders in your country that are HIV positive? Do you think it is important for leaders to tell people their HIV status?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
RyanNguyen
said on November 12, 2018

Actually, HIV/AIDS is not the private issue of each country, it is the big problem all over the world which is human facing now.
As I know that the HIV/AIDS usually happen in the developing countries because the level of life is still low and education is limited. Please see, all the victim of this disease feel like alone, stray of group. The reason for our behavior, we afraid,  we evade them cause we scare which is infected the disease from them.
In my opinion, I think this is not false. It comes from an instinct of person. But, our false is cannot create the community and change the recognize to them. In modern life, almost of people concentrate on their job, they don’t care or don’t know the HIV/AIDS people, maybe they think it is outside of their life. For about HIV/AIDS people, the live silent, worry, afraid… We need to have many people like Zulu, bravely facing with the disease, share and help others people. We are appreciate with her’s contribution and hope it can extend to other countries, not only Zambia.

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on November 14, 2018

Noone authority came to say something about this problem yet in my country.
HIV/AIDS droped down on men and women like a ray in end centurie 20. It promoted changes in social intercourses and created prejudices against people infected. Nowadays, there are more informations about the desease and people have more care in his sexual life. But we cannot forget to awake young people about the dangeres in promiscuous relationships. I hope science progress for eliminate this disease of our lives…
Thank you for the text and welcome the new voice (Megan Nollet) in the program.