Body map 03

CCAC #: 0369
Artwork title: Body map 03
Artist(s): Ntombizodwa Somlayi
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

When diagnosed with HIV in 2001, Ntombizodwa recalled the car accident that had almost killed her in 1995. She added "always be prepared" as she believes one should always be ready for the worst. After getting very sick with TB and sores all over her body, she agreed to antiretroviral therapy that saved her and her two boys' lives.

Ntombizodwa Somlayi's statement

In this picture I have a scar, a dent, on my head, at my back and on my two arms. I was in the car accident between Piketberg and Mooreesburg on the N7.

I have written ‘ALWAYS BE PREPARED’ on my body map. It is my girl guides slogan and means you must be prepared for everything either bad or good. If you get bad, you must be prepared for it how to solve this problem, even HIV. The time I was diagnosed, I was worried I was going to die of HIV. But I told myself that I’m coming from heaven and not from here, and I must go back. Even if I’m negative I’m always going to die, like in that accident which gave me the scars. I was prepared.

Look here where I have painted the virus. On 19 January 2001 I became very sick. Stomach pains and headache. It was summer time, the season of peach and apricot, and I thought that’s why I had a sore stomach.

When I was sick I was at Jooste hospital. I was very afraid of that hospital because people say you don’t come back from Jooste. There is no care, you can wait the whole day in a chair, there are not enough beds, and the food is only sometimes. You need relatives to bring you your own food.

That thing on my hand – Jane asked us to draw a symbol of us. I am a bread because all of my mother’s children are dependent on me. They are five. I am the oldest. The youngest is 14. I am 32. I am cheap like a bread, I mean every person who has a problem they come to me because I’m so simple as a bread winner.

My young son doesn’t know he is HIV positive. He just knows he is sick. I will tell him when he is 10.

My older son is 12 and he knows I’m HIV positive. He tells me, ‘No, Mama, these are your drugs and these are your tablets, they are not all drugs, you must take these in the evening and the morning and these any time. Did you drink them today like you must?’

Sadly Ntombizodwa passed away from cerbral meningitis in 2013. She left behind two sons.

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 428944

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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.