Thembi Ngubane

She introduced herself to the world with something she called her HIV prayer. "Hello, HIV, you trespasser," Thembi would say. "You are in my body. You have to obey the rules. You have to respect me, and if you don't hurt me, I won't hurt you. You mind your business, I'll mind mine."

Thembi, who died June 5 at the age of 24, lived in Khayelitsha, one of the largest shantytowns in South Africa. In a country with one of the highest AIDS rates in the world, the fact that Thembi was HIV positive made her a statistic. What made her...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!