Thursday will see the start of a conference for those who often have to bear a heavy burden caused by the HIV/Aids epidemic ravaging South Africa – the grandparents.
Some 300 grannies will gather in Durban ahead of the 2016 World Aids Conference that kicks off next week.
The South Africa Grandmothers Gathering will see those who are often left to care for orphaned grand children discuss their pivotal role in stemming the epidemic.
According to organisers, the conference at Durban’s Garden Court Hotel will result in a statement being issued calling for the provision of grandmothers’ human rights and that of their grand children.
The colourful highlight will be when an estimated 2,000 grannies are on Saturday expected to march on Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention centre on Saturday morning where the 2016 World Aids Conference is being held.
It is estimated that about 14 million children in sub-Saharan Africa have been orphaned as a result of the epidemic, many of whom have then been raised by their grandparents.
Roger Musselman of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which has helped to organise the South Africa Grandmothers Gathering, said an international delegation of grandmothers from Canada and Australia will attend the conference.
The United Nations’ former special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, African Women’s Development Fund CEO, Theo Sowa and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidebé are expected to take part in the march on Saturday.
– African News Agency (ANA)