Durban 25 July 2016
The B-team is getting emotional.
The A-Team is filming and photographing the important people at the AIDS conference in Durban. Doctors, activists… front runners from all over the world.
The B-team makes short films (about one minute) of the people we find in the “Global Village”.
Just outside that noisy village a father and daughter are walking wearing the yellow shirts of the volunteers.
Can I ask you something?
What brings you here, what is your connection to HIV?
They start to smile. They are a father and daughter from Brazil, and have been coming to the AIDS Conference since 2002 as volunteers. Because “my wife, Paula’s mother” is a doctor and a “Master of hepatitis and HIV.”
Ah, so she’s at a presentation or workshop now?
For a second they are lost for words. No, she died last year. Cancer, they say.
But they keep coming to this conference as volunteers because they remain involved with HIV / AIDS.
With a lump in my throat, I ask if they want to tell this in front of the camera.
These are wonderful days in the street next to the Global Village where we stand with a camera and a (sometimes faltering) microphone. That camera is an excuse to approach people and invade their personal lives.
We talk to a colourful parade of people. A man who has worked for decades in HIV prevention, and became infected himself a couple of years ago. A transgender from India. An American doctor who has been working for 20 years to help HIV-infected people in prisons. A girl from Uganda who was born with HIV, and who was only told when she was fourteen. A group of brave activists from Ukraine. Two albinos from South Africa.
They are all different, have quite incomparable backgrounds and histories, but they all have one thing in common: they want to tell their story.
They will speak, they will speak.
Hans van Dijk
Photos Marjolein Annegarn and Hans van Dijk