Remembering Andrew Mosane, AIDS activist and progressive “radical”


South Africa has lost one of its most gusty social justice and AIDS activists-Andrew Mosane. Mr Mosane died on 15 January 2021, at the age of 45 years, and was laid to rest on 20 January.

He was a seasoned AIDS activist who brought the voice of marginalized people and communities to the centre of the AIDS response. He was known to many in South Africa and around the world as a tireless advocate for human rights.

An openly gay black man living with HIV, Mr Mosane experienced stigma and discrimination, yet he worked tirelessly to address the many challenges facing people living with HIV. Activism was in his blood and he naturally weaved into this the politics of race, class and gender. As part of the Civil Society Forum of the South African National AIDS Council, he represented the sectors of people living with HIV, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and sex workers.

Embracing his reputation as a radical, he had an infectious laugh and a sharp intellect, and he conducted himself with sincerity and precision. He was a loud and unapologetic human rights defender. His fellow activists remembered him as “feisty, dedicated, chaotic, lovely, unwavering and passionate.”

Mr Mosane engaged with UNAIDS as he did with networks and institutions across South Africa and beyond, advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights and encouraging young people in the response to HIV and gender-based violence. He would reach out to UNAIDS, wanting to interrogate and better understand the content of our work and how that reflects the lived experiences of people living with HIV and communities broadly.

UNAIDS Country Director for South Africa, Mbulawa Mugabe, said Mr Mosane had made a lasting contribution to the AIDS response. “He had strong facilitation skills that were honed in the trenches of the Treatment Action Campaign treatment literacy programme-an organization he proudly led and worked for. His talent to make scientific information accessible to communities was the hallmark of his advocacy, and that will be missed,” Mr Mugabe said. “We have lost a giant in social justice and the AIDS movement who touched the lives of so many.”

Mr Mosane engaged with UNAIDS as he did with networks and institutions across South Africa and beyond. Above, with UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima.

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