Granny Bulletin: February 2020

Welcome to the Granny Bulletin, your source for news, stories and information about exciting initiatives from the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

In this Granny Bulletin:

  1. Join us for the online release of a powerful short film, Youth Championing Youth: HIV will not define me  on March 1
  2. Are you ready to Stride to Turn the Tide?

Dear Grandmothers and Grandothers,

It is with sadness that we share news of the passing of one of the leaders of the grandmothers’ movement in South Africa.

Zodwa Ndlovu passed away at the beginning of February. She was a gogo, retired nurse, passionate HIV advocate, respected leader, community organizer, and mentor.

Mama Zodwa was the Co-founder and Executive Director of Siyaphambili HIV & AIDS Support Group, a community-based organization that she started with four other HIV-positive women in 2001. Siyaphambili, which means “we are growing up” in isiZulu, provides a soup kitchen, home-based care, and HIV education and counselling to her community, provided with the help of many volunteers, the majority of whom are also HIV-positive. Mama Zodwa was also involved in prison justice work, ensuring incarcerated people have access to HIV medication and support.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff, baby. There is too much to do.”
Zodwa Ndlovu quoted in Powered by Love: A Grandmothers’ Movement to End AIDS in Africa.

Mama Zodwa worked in the infection control ward of the hospital when AIDS emerged as an unknown pandemic in the 1990s. She lost both of her children to AIDS and tested positive herself – leading her to become a volunteer for TAC (Treatment Action Campaign). She proudly lived positively and openly with HIV and became a voice for human rights advocacy – testifying in the African Grandmothers’ Tribunal in Vancouver, Canada in 2013. She was a member of the Organization Committee for the South Africa Gathering, an event that brought together 2,000 grandmothers to demand their rights during the XXI International AIDS Conference in Durban 2016. Recently she became the Chairperson of the Grandmothers Movement in South Africa, an organization that formed following the South Africa Grandmothers Gathering to support grandmothers, and to be a voice of advocacy for them – to give them hope, self-efficacy and a platform for a united voice.

Her family and community came together recently at her funeral and there are plans being made for memorials and celebrations of her life across South Africa in the coming weeks and months. The Stephen Lewis Foundation and Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign extends our condolences to Mama Zodwa’s family, the staff, volunteers, and gogos of Siyaphambili and all the gogos and leaders of the South African Grandmothers Movement.

Mama Zodwa’s spirit and legacy will continue to give strength to the movement for grandmothers rights.

Sarah, Megan, Winnie, and Ruth-Anne

1. Join us for the online release of a powerful short film, Youth Championing Youth: HIV will not define me on March 1

Join us LIVE on Facebook or YouTube for the international release Youth Championing Youth: HIV will not define me  a powerful 20-minute documentary about courageous youth leaders and life-saving community responses to HIV and AIDS in South Africa and Uganda. We can’t wait to share this experience with you, and for your thoughts on this film!

When? On Zero Discrimination Day: March 1, 2020 at 12 p.m. EST (UTC -5)

Why “youth and HIV” and why now? Over 88% of the 2.8 million children and adolescents living with HIV around the world reside in sub-Saharan Africa, and globally, more than 6,000 young women, aged 15-24, are diagnosed with HIV every week. In Africa, young women are twice as likely to be living with HIV as young men of the same age. Despite many obstacles – gender inequalities, stigma, food insecurity, economic hardships, and the overwhelming fact that they must adhere to HIV medication every day for the rest of their lives – young people are rising up to educate, prevent transmission and create better futures for people living with HIV.

Please join our online viewing ‘party’! Simply tune in to the SLF Facebook page ( or our YouTube channel ( a few minutes before the specified date and time. When the film begins to play, you can click to watch it. While you’re watching, you and other viewers will be able to comment and interact in real-time.

Following the viewing party, the film will be available to share on social media with the hashtag: #youthchampioningyouth

2. Are you ready to Stride to Turn the Tide?

Every June, grandmothers and grandothers walk in solidarity with the grandmothers of Africa who walk with purpose every day. This year marks the 11th Annual Stride to Turn the Tide.

The Stride fundraising pages are live! We are eager to support grandmothers and grandothers who are interested in walking – whether virtually, with individual participants tracking steps taken over the course of several weeks, or with an in-person walk in June.

If you are interested in Striding this year, you can participate as an individual, or as a grandmothers group! Learn more and set up your fundraising page by visiting Stride to Turn the Tide. If you have any questions or if you would like any resources such as a map of Canada or Africa to map out your virtual walk or paper donation submission forms, please contact this years Stride Co-ordinator Ruth-Anne at or 1-888-203-9990 ext. 302.

If you would like to be notified of a walk in your area to join or support, email or call us! We are excited to be Striding together this year!

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