Ms Prudence Mabele is the founder of the Positive Women’s Network, South Africa and a founding member of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), as well as the National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS of South Africa (NAPWA). She has been living positively with HIV for more than 19 years and has been a prominent South African activist and an expert in the field of HIV and AIDS since 1992. She obtained a Diploma in Electrical Engineering, Diploma in Psychology, and Certificates on “Women in Management”, “Strategizing towards success and enhancing management of fundraising skills”, “HIV and AIDS leadership and capacity building”, and “Monitoring and Evaluation for Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs”. Her skills include community mobilization, advocating for care, support and treatment of people infected and affected with HIV and AIDS, fundraising and resource mobilization for NGOs. Ms Mabele was one of the first black South African women to be open about her HIV status, at a time when mainly white gay men were open about their HIV status. She has played a pioneering role in a wide range of organisations – from grassroots up to Cabinet level – and usually as a volunteer. She has also worked with several international aid organisations such as Oxfam, Voluntary Services Overseas, the European Union Human Rights Foundation, Amnesty International, the Centre for Development and Population Activities, the Population Council and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
Ms Mabele has written about women and AIDS in Africa and also devised a manual for grassroots organisations on how to set up NGO without formal skills – this has been distributed globally.
Ms Mabele was one of the Olympic torch bearers for the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay event where the theme was Pass the flame unite the world. This worldwide relay united the five continents and travelled to 33 cities in 26 countries.
Ms. Mabele has received several awards international, national and regional in recognition of her dedicated contribution to the fight against HIV and AIDS – in 1998 Ms. Mabele was nominated by the Shoprite/SABC 2 women award the South African Women of the Year in the Education category, and was runner-up in the Award for Excellence in Writing on Women and AIDS by UNAIDS and AIDSCAP
Ms. Mabele continues to serve as the executive director of Positive Women’s Network which provides support to women at community level. The PWN facilitates support group activities, refers HIV positive women requiring services to appropriate health facilities, and advocates for the rights of HIV positive women. It has been a key player in South Africa in the campaign for access to treatment with ARV’s