You are currently viewing Why does it hurt so much? Rejected because of my HIV status (Interview with Tovhowani)

Why does it hurt so much? Rejected because of my HIV status (Interview with Tovhowani)

Suicide was the only option Tovhowani Makondo had when she realized that she got infected with HIV. She felt misunderstood and that no one wanted to listen to her. She felt rejected and sometimes would sleep on the street and eat from the dustbins. It was the most traumatic experience in her life, but she made it through. May Tovhowani’s story give you hope never to give up If you are HIV-positive. If not, may you be informed as to how to treat those living with the disease around you.

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Tovhowani Makondo.

Tell us about yourself. Who are you? Age and where do you come from?
I am Tovhowani Blessing Makondo from Venda at Nzhelele ha khakhu, but now staying at Mankweng, Nobody. I am 29 years old. I have a passion for dancing. I am always happy, and people like to associate themselves with me because I love people. I am HIV positive, and I am not ashamed of my status.

Share some light about your childhood, your background.
I grew up in rural areas with my family. I had a difficult upbringing as I experienced issues with my gender. I am gay, and people did not understand what that meant. I got rejected and resented by my family and friends. I got bullied at school, and my father at home used to call me names every chance he got. I got stabbed once, and I felt like my life was over. I became suicidal because I had no one to talk to. I fell into depression, started drinking, and could not complete my studies because of the rejection I experienced.

What do you do?
I am a dancer and a volunteer Coordinator for a company in Polokwane.

When were you diagnosed, and at what stage?
I got diagnosed with HIV in 2014 at Weskoppies hospital, and I was 23 years old. The virus was detected early.

How was the virus initially detected? Did you always have symptoms?
I felt a lot of burn on my feet, and I was always shaking. My skin color became too dark than the normal one.

How did you feel when you first received the news?
The results devastated me, and I thought my life had completely come to an end. Luckily I was at the hospital when I got tested due to depression. I got support from the doctors and nurses, and they helped me come to terms with my status. It was not easy, but I made it through.

Did you have a support network? If not, how did you overcome it?
My mother tried to support me in every way she possibly could, but it was not easy for her. She was also going through her challenges at the time, but she did try to support me anyhow she could. At the present moment, my colleagues are very supportive, and I find solace in them. I shall forever be indebted to them.

Tell us about your treatment process.
The treatment process was not easy. I would get a lot of withdrawals. I then decided to start taking medication. Initially, I would forget, but now I take my medication daily. I have become healthier, strong and my skin is glowing.

How did you overcome backlash and rejection from people?
Initially, it was not easy. I was called names and backlashed by many people. I affirmed myself that I was strong, loved, and brave. The affirmations developed inner confidence which helped me to overcome rejection and hold my head up high. I believed that one day, I will share my testimony of hope with people.

What message would you like to provide to someone living with the disease?
HIV is not the end of the world. Do not depress yourself by thinking that your life is over. You got so much to offer. If you feel alone, find someone to talk to. It will help you release every form of anger and resentment inside of you.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10years to come?
I see myself owning an NGO dealing with HIV patients and helping those who experienced any form of abuse to recover from the trauma.

How would you want to be remembered when you depart here on earth?
Nkosi Johnson inspired me a lot. I want to be remembered for the impact I have made on people as he has. On the community, youth, and the rest of the world.

Tovhowani Makondo.

I would love to add my contact number if there a people who love to invite me to make awareness about people living with HIV on 0713657390.

Thank you Tovhowani for your tenacious spirit to keep moving despite the challenge you have experienced in your life. You are a true definition of strength personified. Keep your head held high.

You can follow her on social media.
Facebook: Tovhowani Makondo
Tovhowani Beyonce Makondo.

Please leave an encouraging comment to Tovhowani on the comment section. Amd please do not forget to check out some of my recent posts below.

From my heart to yours.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Evidence Mutumbu

    Thank you so much for sharing this interview.Sometimes we think we have come to a point where there is no way out but only to die.
    Thank God she was saves from ending her life

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      Thank you so much
      I felt her sort needed to be told beside she mentioned a lot about being rejected by family and friends, which eventually led her into suicidal thoughts. But she came out better and stronger. That’s what matters….the end results of how we respond to difficult situations thrown at us.

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      Certainly agreed
      They deserve it. thank you for always passing by mate

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      The good thing is she managed to pull through and now her life is a testimony to the hopeless

        1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

          Thank you for passing by always.

  2. Pleasure hlungwani

    She must be Limpopo HIV ambassador, she’s a kind of people we need in our society who are open about their HIV status and protect others, big up my sister ✊✊✊

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      Absolutely true
      I agree with you. I love her tenacity and courage to come out and be the best she could possibly be. Tovho is an inspiration to many. Thank you for reading

  3. Linda

    On World AIDS Day 2011 I went to my job as an IRS manager wearing my red HIV t-shirt. People ask questions I told them. There are 1,000 people on night shift. Some knew I had AIDS, many didn’t.
    When the covid cough came about i had one lady get nervous about me being maskless. I politely told her not to worry I just had AIDS.
    You see, I don’t care who knows. I’m the one who was betrayed in 1986 by my husband.
    Frankly I’m pretty much over this fear mongering, guilt and shaming crap.
    The reason we have stigma is our inability to speak the truth. If I hear someone talking disparagingly about people with AIDS; they get schooled. I’m not mean about it. The pitena on stigma looks like dried cow dung.
    Instead of writing about what stigma does, get out and educate and tell people your situation.

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      Ohhh wow Linda
      Your boldness and courage to be as strong as you are is unbelievable. I believe the more we have people like you and Tovho in the society, the more people will be educated and we will be able to create awareness to people about HIV and AIDS. People still stigmatize those whom are infected and it’s not a good thing to do.

      I’m so sorry to hear that you have been rejected by your husband. It’s okay to be rejected by people on the streets but if its from family and those close to us the pain hurts too deep. Remain strong my sister and may God give you the strength to hold and may you be the best version of yourself always. I love you so much.

  4. Pooja G

    There is still so much stigma around HIV/Aids and it definitely isn’t a death sentence. With where medicine is at these days you can very much live your best life.

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      There is still so much stigma and im telling you it’s negatively affecting those who are infected a lot. I know a lot of people who are positive but yet live the best lives purposelessly. It’s unbelievalble to still find that there is so much stigma around people living with the disease. It’s the same as mental health issues…we still have a long way to go

      1. Pooja G

        Yeah I totally agree. I’m glad you’re sharing these people’s experiences though it’s a good way to decrease the stigma.

        1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

          Thank you dearest
          That’s absolutely encouraging

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