Some people said I was possessed by demons because I’m a lesbian. So I decided to grow my hair and get a boyfriend. That’s when all these things started. I got the boyfriend and we slept together, and that’s when I got HIV. And I became pregnant at the same time. I was fifteen years old.

When the child was born, she got sick and then they decided to test my blood. When the doctor told me I had AIDS, I said, “Fuck you.” I didn’t take it seriously. The child died at four months. I myself was still a kid.

When I grew up I decided to try having kids again. In 2004, I went back to the very same man, we slept together, and I got pregnant. My son’s name is Mpendulo, which means “answer,” because God gave me a child—my prayers were answered. In 2007, we had another baby. I named him Asibonga, “thanks.” As the father of my kids and I became closer, I disclosed my sexuality to him and he was supportive. Unfortunately, my kids’ daddy was HIV-positive. He died two weeks ago. He loved his kids very much.

I was determined to have HIV-negative kids. So I went to the clinic and they informed me about PMTCT—prevention of mother-to-child transmission. I went through that process. I attended every appointment and they gave me Nevirapine. I followed every precaution. Now my two kids are healthy, they know my HIV status, and they know my sexuality.

In 2007, my colleague, an open lesbian, was murdered. They stabbed her, they shot her, and they took her underwear and put it on her head. I was so confused and scared. I’m proud of myself, but going out and saying it loudly—“You know what, I’m a lesbian and I’m proud!”—is very difficult.