The campaign aims to create awareness and address the issues faced by the MSM (men who have s.e.x with men) community such as discrimination and stigma when seeking help in the healthcare sector.
South African musician, actor and LGBTI+ activist Nakhane has added his voice in support of the ‘Me1st’ campaign which was launched by non-profit organisation Right to Care.
Nakhane abandoned Christianity and always had an underlying concern as a gay man about his own morality. He lived in fear that he would get married to a woman, have children and have affairs with men on the side.
“This is a cause that is very close to my heart as I am always encouraging everyone around me to get tested. I learnt the importance of practicing safe s.e.x and knowing one’s status by observing my mother when she was a counsellor for people in disadvantaged areas, many of whom were HIV positive,” said Nakhane.
With Nakhane’s name translating to a request to “build each other” and Right to Care’s support of the National Department of Health, the endorsement of this campaign seems the perfect match.
To date, the campaign has travelled to Kimberley, East London, Bloemfontein and Durban with activations providing HIV, STI and TB screening and support to men who have s.e.x with men in South Africa.
I am happy to announce that I am an official campaign ambassador for @Me1stSa; a campaign aiming to encourage men who have sex with men to have safe sex, and test for STIs in spaces free of discrimination. Go to the Me1st website for more information: https://t.co/oyqcnn5egc pic.twitter.com/SFoKyBMJIh
— YOU WILL NOT DIE (@nakhaneofficial) February 5, 2019
Currently touring in Australia, Nakhane believes that despite no longer being based in South Africa, he still has a responsibility to use his platform to raise awareness on important social issues in the country.
“This campaign is important because it gives a voice to men who have s.e.x with men by creating the channels needed for non-discriminatory HIV and STI screening.
“For me, Me1st is an opportunity to not only debunk myths but also to create safe spaces. It is important to know your status, and you should never feel compromised or humiliated when wanting to test,” added Nakhane.