Thanks to the American people for saving thousands of South African lives.

Media Release: Embargoed until Monday 1st July 2013.

US President Obama will visit the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre in Masiphumelele in the south peninsula on Sunday, 30th June.   He will hear first-hand the impact of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) from South Africans who have been affected by HIV and AIDS.   PEPFAR was established by President George W Bush in 2003 in response to the global HIV epidemic, the initial allocation was $15 billion globally to combat HIV AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.   The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation is one of many organisations in South Africa that has benefitted from this fund.


Patron of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF), Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will welcome President Obama, who will be accompanied by Ambassador Eric Goosby, MD US Global AIDS Coordinator; the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi will also be present.   The President will be given a brief tour of the youth centre, including the computer lab and the HealthZone the reproductive health facility for youth, and he will meet some of the young people who attend the centre.  Five other non-profit organisations that have benefitted from PEPFAR funding have been invited to a discussion that will take place after the tour.   Clients who have benefitted through these organisations will have the opportunity to tell their personal stories.


  1. Desmond Tutu TB Centre, University of Stellenbosch
  2. Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union
  3. National Association of Child Care Workers
  4. Keth’impilo
  5. Hope Education


“ We welcome this opportunity to thank the people of the United States of America for their compassionate and generous response to a global epidemic from which South Africa has suffered greatly,” said Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, Deputy-director of the DTHC and Chief Operating Officer of the DTHF.


A plaque expressing gratitude to the American people for their commitment to those living with or affected by HIV will be given by the DTHF to President Obama.    The plaque is inscribed with a poem written by Fezeka Gxwayibeni, a young women from Masiphumelele who was a member of the Future Fighters, the adolescent Community Advisory Board who are trained by the DTHF to be educators on HIV research in the community.  Fezeka has been an outstanding HIV ambassador and is now studying in Grahamstown.

Being Young in Masiphumelele


Every day I walk

Looking over my shoulder

With the fear of being taken

Over by a robber


The challenges I face

I cannot escape

I am robbed of success

I am politically stressed


The lack of development in my community

Leads to the lack

Of my opportunities


Praise be to those

Who give us hope!

We now have hope

To see the face of HIV/AIDS no more


We no longer stand in clinic queues

Now we have the choice to choose

I choose to be healthy and be safe

I choose to be educated


I strive for success

Help me make the choice

And help me be a success

                                                                                   Fezeka Gxwayibeni

                                                                           Future Fighter



About DTHF

The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation began within the HIV Research Unit at Somerset Hospital in the early 1990s.   This was the first dedicated HIV clinic in Cape Town providing antiretroviral treatment and on-going care to those living with HIV.   In 2004 the unit was incorporated within the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, as the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre (DTHC), in close affiliation with the community based Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. The DTHF is a not for profit organisation, partnering the DTHC to enhance the community development, and engagement aspect of our TB/HIV and Key Population related research.


The DTHF has multiple projects managed by divisional leaders spanning Men’s Health, Maternal and Child Health, Adolescent Health, Prevention Sciences, Treatment, Tuberculosis and Mobile Services. More than 200 staff are employed at our six sites.    Key to the work of the Centre and Foundation has been the involvement of the communities most at risk.   The Foundation has been working in the Masiphumelele community for more than twelve years.


DTHF Youth Centre, Masiphumelele, Noordhoek

The  DTHF  Youth Centre opened in March 2011 for youth aged 12 – 22 years. The facility was built in response to the needs of the local community.   The goal is to equip youth to make healthy and informed choices. Activities and services provided are sexual and reproductive health services,  after school educational support and computer lab, and life skills, music, sport etc.

PEPFAR Support

The DTHF has enjoyed substantial PEPFAR and other US Federal funding.  The DTHC/F have been recipients of a number of NIH awards over the last 15 years and have also benefited substantially from PEPFAR through both CDC and USAID. These funds have supported testing, training, treatment and health service research and evaluation components.

Key Achievements with PEPFAR Funds

  • Masiphumelele, Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, and Hannan-CRUSAID  Gugulethu treatment programmes have  been recipients of PEPFAR funds.
  • The Tutu Tester and Treater mobile units have collectively tested >45 000 individuals and referred a large number into care for TB and HIV services.
  • The Rapid Initiation of ART in pregnant women (RAP) model was worked out in 2011 and showed that mother to child transmission rates could be decreased to <1% even in HIV pregnant women with advanced pregnancy.
  • Key equipment for the DTHF  Youth Centre clinic. 



Contact: Lavinia Crawford-Browne

Marketing & Liaison Officer

Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation

Faculty of Health Sciences UCT

Anzio Road, Observatory

Tel:  021 650 6032

Cell: 072 496 9849