Message by Nelson Mandela about Nkosi Johnson

June 2001

The deterioration in Nkosi Johnson’s health over the past few months has been a source of great concern to us. It is a an immense human tragedy that Aids is so cruelly ravaging the lives of people, and particularly those of children.

Children, such as Nkosi Johnson, should be enjoying a life filled with joy and laughter and happiness. The regrettable reality of our situation is that Aids severely threatens all that which is beautiful about children and humanity in general. On a frightening scale HIV/Aids is replacing that joy, laughter and happiness with paralyzing pain and trauma.

Nkosi Johnson has been an icon of the struggle for life and he fought fearlessly against this ruthless and parasitic infection. He has touched the hearts and inspired millions of people within and outside the country. The fact that he is a child has endeared him to everyone who has had contact or has seen him, including myself. Therefore, I urge the country and our people to give moral support in his dark hour as he fights for his life.

He has earned the right to be accorded all honor, dignity and respect.

Nkosi has been a great ambassador for our country and it’s people, particularly for millions of people living with HIV. We should not despair and lose hope. Let his life and example spur us on to be strong, resilient and vigorous in our fight against this dreaded infection.

I extend my strongest support to his family, relatives and friends during this dark hour. May Nkosi’s soul be saved. I wish him peace and tranquility. With them we think of Nkosi in these times of severe suffering.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation