The African proverb "it takes a village" is often used to describe how the upbringing of a child is the responsibility of the extended family -- a communal effort. And as there is nothing more precious than the life of a child, it's beyond justification that every day 700 babies are needlessly born with HIV. Over the past 32 years, AIDS has killed more than 35 million people, many of them children. So when it comes to looking at what it will take to win the fight to end AIDS, the saying "it takes a village" has never had more meaning.
There's something really powerful about seeing tens of thousands of dance fans come together not only for a festival, but to loudly and proudly show their support for the battle to end this terrible disease. It's support like this which helps move the dial; it shows governments and businesses that young people care.
Today the first generation since the first incident of HIV occurred is joining the human family. We have come a long way from a time of desperation, when we were sure this epidemic would destroy our families, our countries and our continent. But we are still here -- through no coincidence or chance -- rather, because we united as a global community and refused to let future generations share the same fate as too many of our friends, parents, brothers and sisters.
Singers like me don't often go to scientific conferences. Science and singing seem as far removed from each other as malaria is from mbaqanga1. But the scientific conference I am attending this week in Durban, South Africa, is no usual gathering of ivory tower academics. It is the malaria community's largest meeting in four years - the 6th MIM Conference (Multilateral Initiative on Malaria malaria).