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KonkNaija Media | May 3, 2016

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Fighting Stigma Through Music – by Anthony Eyoh [@thony_YHL]

In so many occasions as we observe the word HIV/AIDS we all know its deathly and dangerous and decide to make those that have fallen victims of this feel bad and not recognized in the society. In other words this is termed as STIGMATISATION.

In actual sense to stigmatize means to set a certain mark of disgrace or infamy upon someone or a particular group of people.

A music producer has taken a giant leap in his efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination on people living with HIV and Aids.

Webster Mapanda, of Log-a-rhythm, has been in the music industry since
2004. Mapanda’s message this time around is zero tolerance to stigma.

“Zero-stigma” is on CD and involves different artistes.

The artistes have their own flair in the eight different songs carrying the same message on anti-stigma.

Mapanda said while there has been behaviour change and the prevalence rate has gone down to 14,2 percent from a high of 26 percent a decade ago, stigma has remained a burning issue which need tackling even from a musician’s point of view.

Mapanda’s CD was distributed for free as he wishes to take the message to as many people as possible.

“I hope to work with all centres involved with HIV and Aids so that distribution will be easy.
“Producing an anti-stigma message is one thing and having it accessible is the most important aspect in my fight against stigma,” said Mapanda.

“This noble initiative involves upcoming musicians as they are the ones who need exposure and marketing,” said Mapanda.

“The Zero Stigma project addresses that element very well and has eight upcoming artistes — all talking the same message,” he added.

“One artiste addresses the issue that children are not to blame at all, some of them were just unfortunate to be born like that and did not play any part in them being born HIV positive.

“So to me discrimination of children is unacceptable and one artiste has made this message loud and clear,” Mapanda said.

“Another artiste talks directly to the infected, giving hope that positive living is the way to go. The song brings out optimism and acceptance as the bridges to positive living,” he said.

I have another singer in prayer mode, asking God’s power and might to intercede as man alone will not conquer.

He knows and points out that prayer is complimentary to medication, In future, funds permitting, he intends to take the message into film and drama. In this project he used his own funding which has resulted in constraints in producing enough CDs.

So far we should learn from him and look at the way forward to have the “Zero-stigma” in our dear society.

We find that most of the kids on the streets are orphans who have little means of survival, therefore our care is greatly needed for these less fortunate as a way of appreciating humanity. One of the songs raises awareness of the street kids, suffering and needing a loving hand to bring them up.

Today I celebrate all those living with the virus. Lets show them more love and care rather than make them feel uncomfortable and unhappy at all times they get to remember what they are passing through. As we sing about our achievements, money, house, cars, girlfriends etc lets also remember the poor and needy, the HIV/AIDS victims etc also in our music and stand to fight stigma also in our music.

Long Live good music, Long Live World Health Organisation (WHO), Long Live Nigeria Entertainment Industry, Long Live Africa, Long Live the Federal Republic Of Nigeria.

Long LIVE people living with HIV/AIDS.

One Love, One peace, One Nation.