Body map 01

CCAC #: 0367
Artwork title: Body map 01
Artist(s): Nomawethu Ngalimani
Year made: 2002
Artwork type: Paper
Medium: Digital inkjet print on paper
Framed dimensions (in mm): 950 x 610
Artwork series: Long Life Project Body Maps
Source: Bought by the Artworks Committee from David Krut
Year acquired: 2004
Installation type: Movable artwork
Location area: On public display

Nomawethu likened the HIV virus to “inkanyamba”, a large water dwelling serpent in African folklore. Like the mysterious snake, she viewed HIV/AIDS as a destroyer. Nomawethu did not get a lot of support when she found out she was HIV positive. She lived with her alcoholic father, and in January 2007, she was murdered by her boyfriend.

Nomawethu Ngalimani's statement

In my left eye I have a birth mark and I just like it. It is part of me.

You see there are red flames there by my heart. It was 1998 in June when I found out that my sister had killed herself. She drank some paraffin spirits and threw a match and caught alight. Then she died in Jooste hospital. Her mouth was gone and her breasts. She did try talk to me and say you must look after my child. Then she died. It was because her husband was with another woman. He died last year of this HIV illness.

On my painting I have written, “I want to have a cure for HIV” and “Try to be faithfully” of course “HIV is a killer”.

I’m standing with my hands up and my feet on the snake. In my opinion the virus look like a snake. You can’t see it and it’s moving in the secret ways and dark ways. Inkanyamba, a big snake that lives in the water, a destroyer like a hurricane that destroys everything on the earth and makes houses and trees fall down and kills people. But you see I am standing on the snake. With ARVs I destroy this virus too.

Sadly Nomawethu passed away in 2007. It is unknown what caused her death but it is suspected that Nomawethu was a victim of domestic violence. She left behind a daughter and a son.

Themes: HIV/AIDS
Constitutional links: Health care, food, water and social security rights (section 27)
Related Constitutional Court cases: Minister of Health and Others v Treatment Action Campaign and Others (2002)

CCAC 428802

Photographer: Unrecorded
Photo copyright: Consult with CCT curatorial team

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NOTE: The process of photographing artworks in the CCAC is underway - we are currently working to improve image quality and display on the CMS but have included internal reference photos for identification purposes in the interim.