Health & Medicine

The grip of HIV and tuberculosis in South Africa: Portraits of survivors and those who are gone

This story is a part of

Across Women's Lives

This story is a part of

Across Women's Lives

friedman sa-25_lede.jpg

Orianda, 60, was first diagnosed with HIV and tuberculosis in 2013. She has recovered from tuberculosis, but has a cane and wears a corset to support her frail body. Cape Town, 2016.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

South Africa is taking major steps in scaling up treatment and prevention services, yet it remains the country with the highest number of people living with HIV.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

Three years have passed since I photographed women living with HIV and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in Gugulethu, a township in Cape Town. I recently returned to the country to attend the biennial UN HIV/AIDS conference in Durban, and I tried to find three women I met in 2013.

Of the three women, Lutango and Fundiswa have become statistics, memories; they died just months after I photographed them, from tuberculosis.

Their children and grandchildren were taken in by neighbors and relatives. Only Orianda is still alive, though most of her family has succumbed to the epidemic too.

Lutango, 2013

Lutango Nompumelelo, 42, washes before going to the hospital. She shared her bed with her children Mcepisi and Akhona. 2013, Gugulethu, Cape Town.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

2016

Mcepisi, 15, after his mother, Lutango, died of tuberculosis in 2013. His younger sister was adapted by her biological father. He now lives all alone and is supported by neighbors.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

Fundiswa, 2013

Fundiswa, 34, at a church where she sang. This photograph was taken in 2013. Fundiswa died in September 2013.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

2016

Likhanyise, 6, poses for a photograph at the same spot in a church where his grandmother Fundiswa was phototgraphed three years ago. Fundiswa died in September 2013.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

Orianda, 2013

Orianda reflects on how she felt when she found out about being diagnosed with HIV and tuberculosis in this photograph taken in 2013, Gugulethu, Cape Town.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

2016

Orianda, 60, was first diagnosed with HIV and tuberculosis in 2013. She has recovered from tuberculosis, but has a cane and wears a corset to support her frail body. Cape Town, 2016.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

Remembering those lost ...

Fundiswa, photographed in May 2013, died in September 2013.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

Fundiswa at Gugulethu's Community Health Center. 2013.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

Lutango Nompumelelo seen here in May 2013. She died in June 2013 after suffering from HIV and tuberculosis for many years. Gugulethu, Cape Town.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

Lutango Nompumelelo in her backyard. 2013, Gugulethu, Cape Town

Credit:

Misha Friedman

Sputum collection room at Gugulethu's Community Health Center, 2013.

Credit:

Misha Friedman

This story was produced with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.