EIGHTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD Sekuru Samba has revealed his HIV positive status and described it as a blessing in disguise.
The Maruta Kraal Headman heir apparent, real name Robert Ticharwa Maruta, said he got a bit promiscuous after his wife died in 2000 and was diagnosed HIV positive in 2008.
However, he has used his status to warn the youths about HIV and AIDS as a voluntary advocate.
“My wife passed on in 2000 and left me 100 percent healthy at 66 years old. However, I failed to be a decent grandfather and started picking township girls, that’s how I got HIV. I even remember from who exactly,” said Sekuru Samba.
“Let us be decent when our partners die. God will guide us through.
“Now, as a grandfather at 84 years old, I am voluntarily footing across Hwedza villages, educating all ages on HIV and AIDS.
“Everyone, kana varungu, ma India chero mutema, chirikutambudza chirwere ichi, kana vakagadzira ndege chaivo vapererwa pachirwere ichi, hapana kana prophet achiwanira kana dombo rinochirapa – so I am going round urging people to stay away from unprotected sex, worse before marring each other.
“I am just footing around like an evangelist, those who are taking my advice are surviving.
“Then there are others who refuse to get tested and are gradually decomposing in silence until their HIV turns into full blown AIDS and eventually death. Chiyi chinorwadza mufi nevafirwa, kunyara kuno testwa HIV or kufa zvako neHIV usati wamboyedzawo mishonga kuti urarame sevamwe?” he said.
Sekuru Samba said it is his advocacy mission that has given him a new purpose in life.
“I am HIV positive but I have welcomed it as a blessing in disguise because I am now a tried and tested HIV awareness voluntary advocate. And it feels like I’m serving a purpose.
“Imagine, my mother, Mbuya VaEnia Nyakatanga Dapi and my father Ticharwa Maruta gave birth to me as a healthy Robert in 1934. Then later I got married to my healthy wife, Kirianah Rwizi Kwari from Mhondoro, Rwizi. We were blessed with two boys Vincent and Tawanda and four girls Yeukai, Anna and the late girls Norma and Tarisai Maruta. We were all healthy and that is what life should be. If people avoid sex before marriage or use protection when they have sex, we will have a healthy population. That is my message to my community.
“I am educating many, school children, mature youths, parents, elders and even those with visual impairments, physically challenged and mostly orphans or child headed families.
“I am travelling by foot, often visiting them and educating them that, if you have early sex before turning 18 years, before getting HIV and STIs tests, and worse unprotected sex with anyone whose status you do not know, you will get an incurable disease for life called HIV & AIDS.”
Sekuru Samba said there is need to assist those on ART as they lack supplementary food.
“I come across sick HIV victims desperately needing basic food because these HIV drugs can be difficult to take at first, especially if you do not have something to eat first before taking them.”
He can also do with some transport as walking is now strenuous at 84.
“If there is anyone who can assist me with a bicycle because I am gradually getting tired of walking but tremendously getting more passionate in alerting more as I grow up,” he said.
He helps several groups of HIV positive people who are in units of 10 and calls upon stakeholders to help these groups.