Winstone Zulu, the first Zambian to go public on his HIV positive status, has died

Winstone zulu

Celebrated HIV/AIDS activist, Winstone zulu has died. Family friend and fellow HIV/AIDS activist, Gezepi Chakulunta has confirmed the death of Mr Zulu to Muvi TV news.

Mr Zulu, who is arguably the first person to have come in public to reveal his positive HIV status, died in the early hours of today at the UTH.

Winstone Zulu was born in 1964 in Lusaka, Zambia, the sixth of thirteen children. After being diagnosed with HIV in 1990, he became the first individual in Zambia to publicly acknowledge his HIV status. In 1997, he contracted TB and, with access to effective medicines and treatment, was cured of the disease within that same year.

During his life, tragically, he has watched four of his brothers die from TB as a result of a lack of access to the anti-TB drugs that would have cured them and extended their lives.

These experiences made Winstone one of the preeminent global advocates on the dangers posed by the increasing spread of TB. As one of the few African activists involved in the global health movement on AIDS from its earliest stages, he was able to recognize the threat that TB poses on the modest successes of HIV/AIDS control.

Nelson Mandela said of Winstone, “There have been so few TB survivors who have stepped forward to share their stories. We need more advocates like Winstone to tell the world about TB and the effect it has on so many millions of people.”

“TB treatment gives patients more time. If my brothers had survived TB they might have lived long enough to access HIV drugs like me. They shouldn’t have died.” Winstone Zulu said at the time.

Speaking at numerous international conferences and events, Winstone sounded the alarm on the links between HIV/AIDS and TB and advocates for increased financial resources and improved programs to combat TB and TB-HIV.

Winstone’s experiences and actions make him a leader in TB advocacy and spoke volumes to the social attention and political will that could be generated by just one individual using his voice.

Mr Zulu is also noted as one of the pioneers of the establishment of Kara counseling.

Meanwhile, Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign Country Coordinator, Felix Mwanza has described Mr Zulu’s death as a great loss.


  1. vote

    Zambian men must remember that Illict sex or fornicating behind yur partner’s back you will often be exposed and unfortunately not live your fulness life

    We all know exposing one’s manhood results to catching Aids, veneral diseases and the whole lot

    RIP Sir

    I hope these brainless, Illict cheating men on here learns somehow. Thanks

    • vote

      Why don’t you write like the educated person you profess to be? Your grammar and spellings leave a lot to be desired. Maybe, just maybe your emotions take over when you start typing. Leave us proud Zambian men alone. After-all you have publicly disowned your country of birth.   

    • vote

      @Mushota: Every man who cheats does so with a woman! Women should share the credit for promiscuity aswell. **==

    • vote

      Mushota,you always seem to create problems for everyone when you type your opinions.One thing I like about you,you dont care what others think or say about you.But one thing,type properly and think before you type.I hope siumabema vyamba kubazuku sisi.Good night!!!

  2. vote

    Fair thee well my friend. Sadly you opposed mandatory testing at presentation in hospital. For Zambia to overcome this scourge, every person who goes to hospital must know his status. If we can put 80% of those with HIV and CD4< 500 and abnormal CD4:CD8 ratio, we will be well on the way to stopping the disease. With recent rapid TB test, this should also be included. Zambian doctors should stop treating TB as malaria, and then community acquired pneumonia and then TB by exclusion. 

  3. vote

    This Mushota thing always has misplaced comments…we are not talking about mens conduct here. We are paasing our condolences of a patriot who shared his experience with AIDS/HIV and TB and if you have other advice please ka Mushota keep them to yourself.
    It takes 2 to tangle so why should you accuse men of bad behaviour……uku tumpa weka puba iwe ka Mushota

    • vote

      you ignorant Kijo, the saying is “it takes 2 to Tango, not tangle” the Tango is a latino dance which requires 2 people for there to be harmony. Get your “sayings” right if you’re going to quote them ala! silly person! RIP Winston!

    • vote

      Kijo please ignore “Comments only where necessary’. He comment was definitly unnecessary as you are quite right in using the phrase “It takes two to TANGLE”. Where as the origins of the phrase is indeed from the Italian dance “Tango” which involves two people dancing intimately, the phrase has evolved to be used in circumstances where to people engage in an activity that can not take place without both of them e.g sexual intercourse. So in this context the more modern and widely used version ‘Takes two to tangle’ was just as appropriate as using ‘TANGO’. I hope you will find my comment necessary…. hope we wont have to tangle or is it tango about this!!

    • vote

      Bwalya how true is Mushota. You pipo u shud know where and when to post such comments. the comment is quite okay but posted on a wrong topic. shameeeeeeeeeeeee

  4. vote

    U will be deeply missed mr zulu, u greatly advocated for funds to combat TB and HIV/AIDS in our country from donors allover the globe and you will be remembered forever. U are such a source of inspiration and hope to many zambians living with HIV/AIDS. Rest in peace

  5. vote

    Ka mushota u are just exposing your ignorance on HIV/AIDs issues.Not only people get it through unfaithfulness to their partiners, u can also get it through sharing things like razors , niddles etc. So ka mushota take your misplaced misconception away from here and STOP insulting zambian men like that coz you also came from a zambian man mind you.

  6. vote

    Mushota my dear, there are times you just have to restain yourself from making annoying contravecial comment. This moment is such. While others are laying their condolocenses to a true hero, you are busy attacking Zambian men. It takes two to tangle my dear, you can also catch it from your so called white husband you fo@l. respect yourself

  7. vote

    people why do you even bother responding to Mushota? I have heard whispers that “she” is actually RB’s son masquerading as a SHE to avoid capture.

  8. vote

    MHSRIP. Fot the fight. Inspired and gave hope 2 many. Wil b mist and remembered. Mushota is an uninformed hypocrit and an agent of stigma. Loud for nothing prick.Stigma kills.

  9. vote

    But what actually killed him? Is it the HIV/AIDS or the poisonous ARV drugs he was taking? Do ARVs actually prolong life or its just the placebo effect? How do you separate the effect of good nutrition from the effect of ARVs on an HIV positive person who has been taking ARVs and has been on good nutrition?

    • vote

      Awe, don’t be foolish. I even know someone who is not eating well, but he went from looking like a skeleton, unable to walk, to being healthy and able to dance, from the ARV’s. There is enough research out there to show that any antiretroviral drugs that are approved by the World Health Organization and other organizations have far more than a placebo effect. It is not just good nutrition, otherwise, how would healthy people that eat well get so sick? The studies control for other variables such as good nutrition and the placebo effect. I’m surprised you don’t know this.

  10. vote

    Too bad for winstone zulu. Thanks for standing up and being a man and inspiring many by creating awareness on the perils and dangers of AIDS. As for Mushota, as true as what you say is, you obviously seem to have time and place issues. Now’s not the time or the place for those comments true as they may be. The problem we have in zambia is we live very unchristian lives while pretending to be so upright and pious. Most of us are in denial of the reality that is AIDS . put your hands up if you have had a relative who died from HIV. it is real and that is the lesson our dear departed brother winstone tried to teach. BANE TULEUMFWA!

  11. vote

    Gone too soon and too young …..Winstone!!
    You helped reduce the stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS
    We need to emulate your examples and courage to make the world a better place for all
    They say that “ if you are not infected by HIV/AIDS you are affected in many ways by it”

  12. vote

    Winstone ‘Mulepele’ Zulu, we have you in our hearts, those of us who were with you at Munali boys remember you so very well, and we cherish what you have achieved in the area of HIV and TB. RIP

  13. vote

    RIP Winstone. Oh and to every blogger here dont you know that you make Mushota’s day by commenting on her post. She seeks attention because she is lonely and posting such messages really makes her day. If you have noticed she doesnt even responds. She enjoys reading what you are saying about her: good or bad. If you ignor her, she will just fade out like an old chitenge material. My first and last time to talk about her/him…

  14. vote

    Commenting on coartZ (30) we so easily accept death even of HIV positive people this is very bad. We need to ask what went wrong with Mr Zulu, HIV with ARVs becomes a chronic manageable illness and one should not just die like that; maybe he needed 3rd line drugs etc where are you advocates lets save our heroes. On Mushota, yes sound the warning so that as pipo’s emotions are high, hammer the message so that it sinks, too late for winston but you can save a life of someone else. Condolences to Wniston I remember he came to my school and taught us HIV even b4 i went to med school.

  15. vote

    R.I,P Mr. Winstone Zulu. You supported Occupational Health Sector by giving talks to Work place HIV/AIDS prevention Strategy when I ran such institutions in Zambia. I am not able to attend your funeral, but I mourn you here in Japan. with all zambians out there.
    Rest in God’s comforting arms.

  16. vote

    Kuli malilo Ku Kaunda Square. Lost case for the physically challenged also! Rest in Eternal peace & Let God be Glorified even in your passing on. You shall be sadly be missed and remembered for generations

  17. vote

    Very sad news indeed. My condolences to family and friends! I hope the TB and HIV drugs will be readily available and free to everyone soon. MHSRIP!

  18. vote

    Mushota you are a gold digger and you like attention too much typical of prostitutes. Whatever you say about Zambian men uwakulile ichisungu mu Zambian live nayo.

  19. vote

    MHSRIP, you were truly a gallant man. Because of you we dont stigmatize those who are HIV+, but we embrace them with you.

  20. vote

    At munali secondary school he was known as “mulepele”=you shall fail, because of his prowess in the debate club. He was a greatly talented man and a very nice man indeed. when someone dies we do not mourn but we celebrate his life when he was alive, Amen!

  21. vote

    Very sad, may his soul rest in peace. At least he had the courage to tell the whole world his story which most of us wouldn’t because of shame. 

  22. vote

    I remember when i heard of him I was so young then i couldnt believe it that someone had come out in the open about being positive…He inspired many MHSRIP

  23. vote

    # 25 My exact thoughts and those of us who met him will remember a very cheerful person who gave hope to others living with HIV.

  24. vote

    MHSRIP…such a courageous person, most of us even now would never come admit to the whole world that we are positive instead we continue to infect others. We need more people like him 

  25. vote

    I will miss you my friend. You inspired me and I will always remember your words when I gave you a lift from Old Street to your hotel in Euston. I only wish you could hear me now. You have left a vacuum in the TB-HIV advocacy work that is filled with stigma, blame, ignorance and fear. To me you were a true champion despite being physically disabled. You were special and talented. RIP

  26. vote

    Rest in Peace. You made a courageous move by confessing your status. Helped a lot of people step forward and live a shameless life. I believe you fulfilled your mission on earth.

    May you soul rest in pace.

  27. vote

    Was a brave man. Made a difference to Zambia. Thanks.

    Mushota, you are brave as well.
    We are enjoying our freedom to express ourselves, no matter how mad or insane you sound. Free speech and democratic right. This is good. We would not trade that with what they have in some places like China and Middle east.

  28. vote

    One very great man and personal friend.
    Brave to the core and stood up for many silent ones.
    He helped us set up programmes in Botswana in the early 1990s when the population 
    was in denial.
    May his soul rest in peace.
    “Robala ka kagiso tsala!”=d>

  29. vote

    Its sad that Winston has answered the Lords call at this time. However, his done his work and what remains is that we who are living to take each work that Winston said to ACT on it and ensure that we live health without fear. We encourage each other and help those who need help. we need to secure that participation of each and every individual is 100% and then we have the Government and others to come in and help.
    God Bless you all for the support and we shall pray for his Soul. MHSRIP

  30. vote

    I have always admired the courage of this man.Thinking about being HIV positive is one thing and testing positive and coming out in the open is another thing.I was very young when this man cam out in the open about his HIV status and I remember me and my sisters making fun of him saying he was just lying that he was HIV positive becoz he never used to look sick.Back then an HIV positive was only known to be thin.Thanks to ART people can live long.Long enough to even see their children grow up into teenagers.

  31. vote

    I have always admired the courage of this man.Thinking about being HIV positive is one thing and testing positive and coming out in the open is another thing.I was very young when this man cam out in the open about his HIV status and I remember me and my sisters making fun of him saying he was just lying that he was HIV positive becoz he never used to look sick.Back then an HIV positive person was only known to be thin.Thanks to ART people can live long.Long enough to even see their children grow up into teenagers.

  32. vote

    On behalf of all International Candlelight Memorial National and Community coordinators. I want to say let us all continue the fight we started and let the footprints of Mr. Zulu Winston be a corner stone in all of us. we continue the fight, encourage each other, giving HOPE of living health, no discrimination, stigma, let all people have access to treatment and other related health services. God Bless you all as we mourn our Brother by:
    Mwansa Katunga – National Coordinator – Candlelight Memorial- Zambia

  33. vote

    Mushota uliche leave MUSHOTA alone abaume nibamundetelela MAPOLO NIYAMUKAZI UMOZI NOT 10 Men fyatilani mapoolo.Mwebaume sungeni utukala twenu.This is the result weather we criticize MUSHOTA she is just being objective.Ok nachibipa but MHSRIP 

  34. vote

    This guy has contributed to saving lives from HIV infections through his advocacy. He fought against stigmatization by confronting it with the declaration of his positive status. I wonder how many Zambians both living with and without the HIV have come out so strongly and fought the scourge in the manner Mr. Zulu did. For me, the man deserves to be honored for his efforts. For sure, he is a national hero!

  35. vote

    Great Men don’t die, thier Spirit lives on. R.I.P

  36. vote


  37. vote

    RIP, Mr Zulu
    I remeber him giving a speech about HIV awareness wen i was at Roma girls in 1992, he was a brave man and will be missed by all.

  38. vote

    RIP Mr. Zulu i’m sure you’ve touched a lot of lives and have helped in the education of our youth of unprotected sex

  39. vote

    You were a role model.You loved and cared for us all that was why you came out in the open and talked about your HIV/AIDS status.WE’LL MISS YOU,DEAR.REST IN PEACE.

  40. vote

    Rest now Mr Zulu. You did your work and your message was received. We need proper drugs in Zambia, we need to treat curable diseases and keep Zambians healthy. We ALL have HIV. We all have it, only in some people it turns positive. AIDS is like cancer, some people get some people don’t. Hundreds of Thousands of people in Europe and America suffer from cancer, it is so common now that it looked on like a normal illness. But in Africa TB, Malaria and diarrhoa are labelled AIDS

  41. vote

    Condolences to his family and may his soul rest in peace.
    Matt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God.
    I kept my promise to UPND on voting for them

  42. vote

    Mr.W.Zulu deserves to be remembered.He withstood all the mocking and jeering from the kaponyas of Lusaka as they nicknamed him ‘Imbila yabulanda’.Infact he outlived most the critics.


  43. vote

    He will be greatly missed. Many of us are either infected or affected. TB can be cured if one adheres to treatment. HIV or no HIV all of us are bound to die but whats important is that we live positively for the betterment of society. MHSRIP

  44. vote

    Dear Winston, so inspiring even in death. However, the pain is unbearable! We shall miss you dearly and our prayer is that you are now with the Lord. It now remains with us to lead responsible lives so that on that day, we will be able to give an account according to scripture. Sleep in peace dear one.

  45. vote

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  46. vote

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