“This was a whole dream to me; I’ve always wanted to meet him! When he gave me that hug and then we had a conversation about Maun, I was in total awe. He calmed my nerves after seeing 3 000 people seated out there, that I was about to address. This was surely an unforgettable concert! And the crowd were so engaged during my presentation with constant thunderous applause to show support and appreciation of my story”.
This is what Sekgabo Seselamarumo (23) can remember instantly fresh from her trip to the United Kingdom (UK) at the Hampton Court Palace a fortnight ago. Seselamarumo was joined by other counterparts at the Southern Africa-based charity organization, Sentebale whose aim is to raise funds to enable the organization to offer psycho-social support to young people affected by HIV/AIDS. Narrating the events of her life-changing trip, the HIV positive living Let Youth Lead Advocate, Seselamarumo oozes with confidence of her star-studded experience in London.
“The Sentebale-Audi Concert was nothing short of incredible. I mean it was raining during the first few hours prior to the concert but the Britons packed the Hampton Court Palace. It drizzled for a few minutes and they just sat in the open space – this shows how much they wanted to be a part of the concert that day. This concert was to raise awareness on the challenges faced by adolescents and young people affected by HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa”
Representing Botswana, Seselamarumo had to juggle through all the events of the show as everyone back at the organization were reliant on her experiences forthwith.
“As a Botswana representative I had the privilege to attend the reception where I had the opportunity to meet with donors and some celebrities who were in attendance and I shared a bit of Botswana as a whole and my role being a Let Youth Lead advocate at Sentebale. Some asked me various questions on HIV in Botswana and I responded in the best way possible,” she added.
Some of the key points she highlighted in her presentation included missing school to attend regular treatment and medical appointments thus falling behind with her school work as well as the lack of opportunities to study abroad for students living with HIV as most scholarships only take students who are HIV negative. Furthermore, she explained why it is important to put the youth at the centre of discussions on HIV and the impact that Sentebale has on the lives of young people affected by HIV.
“Being one of Sentebale’s Let Youth Lead Advocates I plan to engage more with the youth in Botswana through social media. I have been procrastinating for the longest of time on starting a YouTube Channel, called Sekgabo Seselamarumo where I will be able to share more about my life beyond HIV and some of the challenges I encounter in life, but after the Sentebale-Audi Concert experience I have been motivated to just start with what I have, I will learn on the way.
Hence I have my first video up on YouTube and plan on posting more videos on a weekly basis. I’ve seen how people want to know more about our stories and who best to tell our stories than us. I hope the channel reaches people beyond Botswana. Lastly I will be co-hosting a segment on Duma Fm on Saturdays from 1300-1400 to interact and educate the youth about different HIV issues in a fun and youthful way,” she concluded.
For her part, Youth Advocacy and Communications Officer Olerato Keegope said prior to Sekgabo’s departure, the purpose of the concert was to raise funds to support youth focused programming by Sentebale in Botswana, Lesotho and Malawi.
“We are grateful to the audience of 3000 who braved a cold, damp and dark British evening to positively contribute to the lives and well-being of adolescents and young people affected by HIV. As Prince Seeiso (of Lesotho) said “the future is brighter when we walk together”, such collaborative efforts show the commitment to end AIDS by 2030”.
The Let Youth Lead programme is a platform for young people to drive change, allow them to lead initiatives, projects and ideas from design to implementation.
“We have quite a few activities under Let Youth Lead including but not imitated to school outreach programmes, training for teachers, an upcoming Youth Summit and a weekly radio feature on Duma FM. The radio feature, RADIO POSITIVE, is a safe space for youth to share and demonstrate how their generation’s positive attitude and behaviour will lead to a renewed powerful fight against HIV/AIDS,” she concluded.