South African activist Nkosi Johnson was only 12 years old when he died. At the time, in 2001, he was the longest-surviving child born with HIV. He was born in the fourth of February 1989 and is celebrated in google doodle and all around the world today.
His mother, Nonthlanthla Daphne Nkosi was HIV positive and the disease was passed to him through birth. After his mother became too ill to look after him, he was adopted by South African public relations officer Gail Johnson.
He came into the limelight in 1997 when he was refused entry into school because of his HIV status. This decision was immediately widely spread and caused political issues in South Africa which led to new anti-discrimination laws being put in place which stopped children being banned from schools based on their health.
Alongside his adopted mother, Nkosi went on to campaign for children with Aids. He spoke at several high-profile events, he was also keynote speaker at the International Aids Conference, where he gave a speech which he’s most known by today. He said; “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!”
His legacy precedes him with his Non-governmental organisation, Nkosi’s Haven, it still active today that provides treatment and support for families affected by Aids in his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa.