London-based award winning South African musician, songwriter, actor and LGBTI activist Nakhane, who has a big fan in Madonna, has added his voice in support of the Me1st campaign which was launched by non-profit organisation Right to Care. The campaign aims to create awareness and address the issues faced by the MSM (men who have sex with men) community such as discrimination and stigma when seeking help in the healthcare sector.
Nakhane abandoned Christianity and always had an underlying concern as a gay man about his own morality. He lived in fear that he would get married to a women, have children and have affairs with men on the side.
Commented Nakhane who was recently named by The New York Times as the musician to watch in 2019, “This is a cause that is very close to my heart as I am always encouraging everyone around me to get tested. I learnt the importance of practicing safe sex and knowing one’s status by observing my mother when she was a counsellor for people in disadvantaged areas, many of whom were HIV positive.”
With Nakhane’s name translating to a request to “build each other” and Right to Care’s support of the National Department of Health, the endorsement of this campaign seems the perfect match.
To date, the campaign has travelled to Kimberley, East London, Bloemfontein and Durban with activations providing HIV, STI and TB screening and support to men who have sex with men in South Africa.
Currently touring in Australia, Nakhane believes that despite no longer being based in South Africa, he still has a responsibility to use his platform to raise awareness on important social issues in the country.
“This campaign is important because it gives a voice to men who have sex with men by creating the channels needed for non-discriminatory HIV and STI screening. For me, Me1st is an opportunity to not only debunk myths, but also to create safe spaces. It is important to know your status, and you should never feel compromised or humiliated when wanting to test, he adds.