The Museum

The Museum
of AIDS in Africa

delivers programs based on three pillars:

  • Collection and Preservation
  • Memorialisation
  • Public Education and Dialogue
Collections and Archive

The Museum's Collections will include items such as

  • First known sample of HIV from Leopoldville, Congo, 1953
  • A preserved Central Chimpanzee, monkey, one species from which HIV is believed to have jumped from animals to humans and in the process become lethal
  • Letters from doctors in mission hospitals in rural Uganda written in the early 1970s seeking information about a frightening new disease turning up in their wards
  • A sample of the fabric called “Juliana” which was brought to northwestern Tanzania by an itinerant trader in the late 1970s – many poor women traded sex with the trader for the fabric and later died of AIDS, leading to the colloquial term by which the disease is still known in that region
  • The field notes gathered by Dr. Peter Piot and others when they made the first expedition to find HIV in Africa in 1983
  • Black plastic body bag of the kind that were used to wrap all those believed to have died of AIDS in Kenya in the 1980s (because of which the disease is sometimes still called “plastic” in Kenya’s poorest areas)
  • AIDS education materials from Uganda in the early 1980s – the first public education on the virus in Africa
  • Herbal remedies sold in various countries as a cure for AIDS, both before and after the advent of ARV treatment
  • Bible of Canon Gideon Byamugisha, first clergy person to disclose his HIV-positive status in 1991
  • The suit jacket and tie worn by HIV-positive activist Nkosi Johnson, age 12, when he addressed the audience in Durban at the International AIDS Conference in 2000, challenging his government’s AIDS denialism
  • Original advertisement placed by former Mozambican first lady Graça Machel and family in Noticias newspaper in Maputo announcing that their brother-in-law had died of AIDS in 1991 – the first such move by the family of an African leader
  • The “HIV-positive” t-shirt donned by former South African president Nelson Mandela in 2002, in one of that country’s most historic moments in the fight against AIDS
  • The bottle of pills from which treatment activist Zackie Achmat took his first anti-retrovirals in September 2003, ending his historic ‘drug strike’ campaign for treatment
  • The tiara and sash worn by Kgalalelo Ntsepe, the first Miss HIV Stigma Free in Botswana in 2003
  • Audio file of South African DJ Khabzela’s on-air announcement that he had AIDS and was dying in November 2003
  • The “condom pouch” that became part of the standard issue equipment of the Eritrean armed forces in 2005

If you would like to donate to the Museum's collections, contact us.

Current programs

A virtual space to remember and honour people in Africa who have lost their lives to AIDS and to support their friends and family to cope with grief.

The Winstone Zulu Memorial Collection

Created in honour of Winstone Zulu, founding board member of the Museum of AIDS in Africa and internationally renowned AIDS activist from Zambia who passed away October 12, 2011. The Collection aims to gather and preserve items relating to Winstone Zulu's life.

Healing Through Memory: Museum Therapy Pilot public program

An initial 'teaching collection' of the Museum will be used in grief counseling with communities and individuals in South Africa who have lost friends and relatives to AIDS.

To support any of these programs, or for more information, contact us.