Google honors notable people with their doodles and the latest is Nkosi Johnson, the youngest HIV And Aids Child activist who died at age 12.
In What would have been his 31st birthday; Google honors with a doodle, Nkosi Johnson, whose work focused on raising awareness around HIV/AIDs in the early 2000s. A time when the disease was still incredibly stigmatised and seen as a “death sentence”. Nkosi Johnson passed away from complications related to AIDS at the age of 12.
He was the longest-surviving HIV-positive born child at that time.
Nkosi’s mum was also HIV positive and became too ill to look after him, so he was adopted by a public relations officer from an Aids care centre.
In 1997, when Nkosi Johnson was just eight years old, his name became known when a local primary school near where he lived refused to take him as a pupil. It was because of his infection.
It caused huge political issues for South Africa, which forced changes to the law there. New anti-discrimination policies were put in place and that stopped children being banned from schools based on their health.
Nkosi Johnson Speech
Nkosi Johnson received international attention following his address to thousands of delegates at the 13th International Aids Conference in Durban back in 2001. There, his heartfelt words which centred on dispelling the stigma and superstitions around the illness captured the world. “Hi, my name is Nkosi Johnson,” He began. “I am 11 years old and I have full-blown Aids. I was born HIV-positive…Care for us and accept us – we are all human beings. We are normal, We have hands. We have feet, We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else. Don’t be afraid of us – we are all the same.”
Nkosi Johnson died one-year later. Four years after that, to honour his efforts to raise awareness of the disease, the International Children’s Peace Prize was created.
Since Nkosi’s death there have been positive changes in trying to create a more accepting South Africa.
He took his message across the world, travelling to an AIDS conference held in Atlanta, Georgia in the US at one point. Following his death, his adopted mother, Gail Johnson, established Nkosi’s Haven, a non-profit organisation (NPO) which has carried on his legacy through providing a sanctuary for mothers and children affected by HIV/AIDS.