AIDS Walk Africa is nearing its end. The awareness and fundraising effort began last week in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province. Walkers travel throughout the province, raising funds through private and corporate donations. It’s sponsored by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation. To learn more about the walk, we’ve been talking to American entertainer Kimberly Locke, who’s taking part in the event.
Kimberly was one of the finalists on the popular American Idol TV program. Today (Monday, 10/13), she spoke with English to Africa’s Joe De Capua about the AIDS walk taking in some of South Africa’s beautiful scenery over the weekend. She says Saturday and Sunday they visited Cape Vidal in the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park. It’s located on the shores of the Indian Ocean and extends over 280 kilometers to Mozambique.
Kimberly says, “Even though we’re here to notice and acknowledge the epidemic that is going on here in Africa, there is a beautiful side as well, and we’ve been living in it over the past three days.” Today, she watched as some of the walkers, who are retired football players, scrimmaged with students at a local school. Reacting to football in Africa, she laughs and says, “It’s much bigger than our NFL (National Football League.”
She also spent time today reflecting on events over the past week. “Reflecting on, number one, the reason why we were all here. And that was to see what the people here are actually dealing with and how large a scale it is. And to see that there are operations in place and programs in place to help with the problem of HIV/AIDS.” She says her reflections are like “the beauty and the beast.” She says, “The natural beauty here in South Africa is amazing. We do have beautiful places in the (United) States, but to see where we are now, land for just miles and miles and miles with nothing but wild animals running about. But at the same time, the beast of it is that the people here are affected so badly by, not only AIDS and HIV. It’s only part of the problem that they’re facing. They’re facing economic problems, social problems. It was too long ago these people just started to make way on racism and prejudices. They made a big step. But it’s such a small piece of the pie. And they have so much further to go to see that it does make a difference. And that is going to turn around and get even better. That’s a lot to reflect on.”
As for what Kimberly will do when the AIDS walk ends, she says: “Me as one person, I can’t save the world. But I can make a difference. How am I going to make a difference now? I don’t know how it’s going to be, but I will find a way to make a difference.”