Nokhwezi Hoboyi

District coordinator: Ekhurhuleni branch, Treatment Action Campaign

Thirty-one-year-old Nokhwezi Hoboyi is living proof that an HIV-positive status does not equal a death sentence to one's dreams. She doesn't think the sky is the limit; she thinks one should reach beyond it. Living by the adage that what doesn't break you makes you stronger and that perseverance is paramount, she is striving � through professional and personal growth � to be a leader in her community, in her country and for her cause. Hoboyi was a croupier before becoming a full-time Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) activist in 2004. As a treatment literacy practitioner, her gift for communicating �being able to explain complex scientific jargon in simple terms � contributed to her appointment as editor of the TAC's national magazine, Equal Treatment, in 2005. Moving on from the magazine to policy communications and research, Hoboyi has worked her way up to district coordinator of the TAC's Ekhurhuleni branch, a demanding role that keeps her days full and allows her to make changes in her own community, in Vosloorus. Apart from coordinating programmes, partnering with civil society organisations, contributing to policy discussions and advocating for essential improvements in the health care system, she also sits on several boards. An ardent defender of human rights � particularly those of women � Hoboyi is frequently involved in cases of hate crime and violence and played a big part in helping to construct the case against Matthias Rath, who was convicted for selling fake Aids drugs. One of the most rewarding parts of her job is seeing people stand up for their rights and, by continuing with treatment, their lives. She is heartbroken to see people bedridden in 2011, the sadness on their families' faces and how HIV/Aids breaks families apart. To escape the emotional weight and demands of her activism Hoboyi spends Saturdays with her son and, as a trained traditional healer, focuses on a different kind of healing � for others and for herself. � Lu Larche

Website: tac.org.za