The SATuRN team had a once in a life time opportunity to sit on the chair of African Dreams and send their messages about their hope and dreams for a better future for Africa. This remarkable chair that goes around the world and that is truly a work of art, with special craftsmanship, contributed by more than 150 crafters.
From Left: standing: Lungani Ndwandwe, Justen Manasa, Tulio de Oliveira, seating: Xolile Kineri and Zakhona Gumede. Photography by Astrid Treffry-Goatley.
One cannot help but sense an overwhelming feeling of positive energy and an inspiration feeling as one encounters this chair with its history and the stories/messages it bears with it. The chair itself has won numerous awards for its creative and artistic design and has been coined as one of the most beautiful objects in South Africa. Again notable names have sat on the chair such as, Former Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, singer and song writer Johnny Clegg, American civil rights activist Rev Jesse Jackson, to name just a few, making it one of the most famous chair if not inspiring chair in the world. Perhaps what makes this chair priceless is the history of how it came about and the people who contributed to the idea of making the chair.
The chair of African Dreams was made by the Woza Moya Community Centre, a community Centre treating and caring for people living with HIV and AIDS. The idea for the chair came about after a body mapping workshop exercise where most of the patients and crafters showed a common trend in outline of their sad life stories 'it was as if everyone in the group had stopped dreaming' says Thomson, the crafters co-coordinator. From this they decided to create something that would make people dream again and to encourage powerful and positive thoughts about their future, the future of the country and the African continent.
The opportunity to sit on the chair couldn't have come at a better time, as SATuRN launched its HIV and TB Drug Resistance and Clinical Management Case Book, an open source book aimed at managing HIV and TB resistance cases and at building capacity to health workers working in health facilities managing patients on ART and TB therapy. This book comes at a perfect time, as there has been a significant response from the National Department of Health to the sounding call from research institutions and research networks such as SATuRN to the looming threat of HIV drug resistance.
This significant SATuRN milestone resonates with it a sense of hope; hope that the worst can still be avoided. As Thomson says 'the chair connects people to HIV in a non-threatening way'; this gave the SATuRN team a chance to sit on this magnificent chair, reflect and voice their messages of hope for Africa and what they would like to contribute towards the progress of the continent through their work with SATuRN.
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