Harare, November 26,2013 – The United States Embassy has announced that, with support from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), it will on December 2 this year commemorate the 13th annual Auxillia Chimusoro Awards and the 10th anniversary of PEPFAR by recognizing three winners of the 2013 HIV/AIDS Art Challenge.
Since 2000, the United States Embassy has commemorated the life of HIV/AIDS-activist Chimusoro through an awards ceremony recognizing outstanding Zimbabweans in the HIV/AIDS sector. Auxillia was the first woman in Zimbabwe to disclose her positive HIV status in 1989 when stigma and discrimination were prevalent. This year’s Awards competition was open to art students from four polytechnic colleges (Masvingo, Mutare, Bulawayo, and Harare), the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT), Peter Birch School of Art and the National Gallery School of Visual Art and Design (NGZSV). The student artists were asked to incorporate a minimum of two HIV/AIDS-related themes in each design work to honor Chimusoro.
This year’s commemoration is being held in Masvingo, where Auxillia was born and worked. A total of 25 submissions were received from six (6) institutions. A team of seven (7) judges from the arts community, the National AIDS Council, and the U.S. Embassy PEPFAR/Health team selected the top three (3) winners. Orton B. Singine and Sharon Maisiri of Harare Polytechnic made a joint submission and won the first prize; Takunda Billiat of NGZSV came second; and Tendai Arnold Nhanga of Mutare Polytechnic came third.
The US Embassy added that the winners will be receiving cash prizes and certificates in Masvingo on December 2 from U.S. Ambassador D. Bruce Wharton. Millicent Hadziindi of NGZSVAD and Cosmas R. Manyopo of Chinhoyi University of Technology received honorable mention for jointly taking the 4th position.The full display of submissions will travel around Zimbabwe in 2014.
One of the judges commended the program for contributing to young people’s awareness of the national response to HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe. “We are very pleased by the high level of appreciation by young people that HIV remains a big public health problem. The vision of most young people is an HIV-free generation. It is our hope that young people will avoid risky practices and adopt positive behaviors to ensure that the vision becomes a reality in the very near future,” said Oscar Mundida, National Behaviour Change Manager at the National AIDS Council.