On World Aids Day, December 1, 2011, the Cape Town Information Resource Center invited Ikamvanites to a trans-Atlantic Skype dialogue session to create awareness of HIV/Aids related issues with American teen journalists from Boston University.

The catalyst before the Skype session was the screening of Susan Walker’s film entitled “A Tale of Two Teens” (2005). Walker is Boston University’s Professor of Journalism and a documentary film producer. The documentary follows Margaret, an American teenager, as she travels to South Africa to meet Sine, a 16-year-old girl orphaned when both her parents died of AIDS. Sine lives with her grandfather in the Pholela district, Kwazulu-natal, South Africa, the unofficial epicenter of the pandemic. Through the girls’ friendship (they bond over the music of American Dave Matthews, who was born in South Africa), the film explores how AIDS has been able to ravage an entire continent, while a dangerous complacency has developed in America. It looks at the disparities in the girls’ lives, from access to education and health care to their thoughts on boys, sex, and HIV/AIDS.

Infused with a resilient spirit, A Tale of Two Teens offered an accessible and meaningful appreciation of the global AIDS crisis as well as a powerful tool for discussion, awareness and prevention to kick start the dialogue session.

Guest facilitator, Garrett Rhodes, a major in Film from Penn State University and currently a Peace Corps Response Volunteer working with PEPFAR based at the Western Cape Dept. of Health in Cape Town, excelled at engaging both trans-Atlantic teen audiences in the Q&A sessions with his experience as a Life Orientation Coach and HIV/Aids Peer Group Educator.

Phumza Kibi, explained to the American teens that Ikamva Lisezandleni Zethu means “The Future is in our Hands” in Xhosa and the IkamvaYouth non-profit organisation focuses on the empowerment of youth through education, e-literacy training and career guidance. 

After the program, Professor Susan Walker wrote about this initiative: “We are all just amazed at what we can do with the new technology and efforts of dedicated educators.  Students were blown away by this experience and I would love to consider this, again, maybe next year during World AIDS Day.”

Results:

 By highlighting World Aids Day and in support of the U.S. Mission to South Africa goals in partnering with the South African Government, this IRC program focused on HIV/Aids Education and awareness is moving forward towards an Aids-Free generation of South Africans. The dialogue session was a fun and creative way to carry the message home and to foster mutual understanding among global youth audiences. 

Text is taken from Susan Dymond’s report of the event. 

To view the Youtube clip of the conversation click here