South African HIV/AIDS activist Nkosi Johnson would have turned 31 years old today. His fight for access to anti-retrovirals (ARVs) is being remembered by Google with a doodle showing him addressing a large crowd.
At the time of his death, Johnson was the longest surviving child born with HIV/AIDS. He died in 2001 at the age of 12.
Johnson became a public figure during his fight to be accepted into a school in Melville, Johannesburg which initially refused him entrance because of his illness.
While addressing the 13th International AIDS conference in 2000, Johnson called for recognition of the disease, and the removal of fear and stigma when discussing the virus.
“Care for us and accept us — we are all human beings. We are normal. We have hands. We have feet. We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else — don’t be afraid of us — we are all the same!” he said in his keynote address.
He also said HIV-positive mothers should be given AZT to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
The tech giant told TimesLive that it chose the doodle to honour the “life and legacy of a voice of change heard by millions around the world”.
Google provided examples of other doodles of Johnson and the doodle’s reach.
Image: Google/ Screenshot