PHAKAMISA is pronounced pa-ga-mee-sa.
A Zulu word meaning 'to uplift.'


‘We love one another’

Our confidential HIV/AIDS support group.



Our confidential support group meets twice a month to celebrate life and live positively !
Practising a healthy lifestyle, exercising, nutrition, education on HIV matters, time for counselling and social interaction with others who are HIV+ make this a special group.
We have a close link with HILLCREST AIDS CENTRE so that PHAKAMISA is able to refer people to their respite centre.
This year our sessions have a new format:-
Registration followed by counselling then Devotions. Exercises next followed by a tea break and then classes.
It is important for people who are HIV+ to have a nutritious diet – difficult for people living in poverty. Therefore within our morning we have a compulsory class in vegetable growing which is taught by Zola.
The elective class choices are: Cooking (nutritious meals), Parenting, Home Based Care or Beadwork.

With the love and care found at PHAKAMISA people with HIV/AIDS no longer feel marginalised, isolated and ostracised because of their condition.


Lindiwe found out she was HIV+ in 2003 at the time of her husband's death. With a dangerously low CD4 count of 82, and greiving for her husband, Lindiwe contracted pneumonia and was close to death.

This courageous woman, now shares her story with you.


HIV/AIDS hits hardest where people are marginalised and suffering economic hardship.

It is upon CHILDREN that HIV/AIDS has the most devastating effect.

Please help PHAKAMISA improve the lives of these children.

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  • In South Africa 5.5 million people live with HIV/AIDS – thats 12% of the population.

  • 55% of people who are HIV+ live in the Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng Provinces.

  • 1 in 2 people in the communities PHAKAMISA serves surrounding Pinetown (in KwaZulu-Natal) are infected with the HIV virus.

  • A CD4 cell count gives a reading on your immune system.

  • People without HIV have a CD4 count of 800 to 500 (a measure like BP of 120/80 or sugar level of 5.6).

  • People infected with HIV have a reasonable CD4 cell count if it’s greater than 350.

  • The HIV diagnosis is made after having an HIV antibody test, which tests specific anti-bodies in the immune system to fight the specific virus.

  • In South Africa, when your CD4 count is below 200 you start Anti-Retro Viral Treatment. The government has recently legislated that if you are pregnant or have TB, you should start ARVS when the CD4 count is less than 350.

  • You are classified as having AIDS when your CD4 is less than 200 your body is no longer strong enough to prevent illness and infection.


When 8 members of Tholuthando died within 2 months of each other the group could have abandoned the meetings saying ‘We are going to die anyway’ but instead some members pro-actively divided into groups of twos and threes then began visiting people whom they knew were HIV+ but not attending clinics or support groups to encourage them, to lead a new life style. Consequently we have new members and Tholuthando truly has become a special group.

Lindiwe's Story

My name is Lindiwe. I go to Tholuthando support group. I am HIV+. I found out in 2003 while my husband passed away and I was so sick and thin and my CD4 count was 82. I went to Marionnhill hospital and they told me I had pneumonia and I started taking ARVS.
Now my CD4 count is 723, I’m taking my ARVS and I go to Tholuthando support group. Glenda is helping us, sometimes she invites people from Hillcrest Aids Centre to teach us how to live positively and eat well.
I am looking after myself and I have a grandchild. I am so thankful to God and to Tholuthando.

Thembi's Story

My name is Thembi, I live at Clermont. I found I was HIV+ in 2004 at Kwa Dabeka Clinic. Then I came to Tholuthando and met Glenda and am so happy about this. I went to the Mariannhill hospital for treatment and so I’m much better.

Glenda helps us know about food and everything and they Glenda and Tholuthando give us a lot of love, yes a lot of love. I’m so happy.