Nkosi Johnson

A South African activist who gave public lectures on negative perceptions of AIDS

Nkosi Johnson was an African kid who was born in 1989 with HIV, as his mother, Daphne, had AIDS when she was pregnant.

Nkosi was an exception among the percentage of kids that suffered from AIDS, since he lived more years than the average. He and his mum lived at an AIDS care centre in Johannesburg, but after a certain period of time, the centre closed due to a lack of funds and, the director, Gail Johnson, took them in her place, where they both lived until they passed away.

During his short life, Nkosi fought against the illness and, at the age of 11, he gave some speeches in front of thousands of people, where he said people with AIDS should be treated as common human beings because they are human beings, with all that it entails.

Also, after his biological mother’s death, he and his foster mum Gail, started a shelter called “In Nkosi’s Haven” where mums and children with AIDS could live and be taken care of.

Nkosi died at the age of 12, but his second mummy, Gail, continued developing the shelter and now there are several cottages with over 60 mothers and children living there.

Also, when Nkosi passed away, Zola Skweyiya, a South African Social Development Minister, acknowledged Nkosi’s contribution and said people should start treating people with AIDS with humanity.

After Nkosi’s death, he was awarded with the first KidsRights Foundation’s international Children’s Peace Prize in Rome (November 2001).


  • Gail Johnson Honors Adopted Son Nkosi. YouTube. 12.06.2010: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBh6Tdr2QOQ
  • Nkosi Johnson`s History. Nkosi’s Haven—Official Website: https://nkosishaven.org/nkosi-johnsons-history/

Photo source: https://www.africaglobalradio.com/nkosi-johnson-a-voice-of-change/