What did we do to you, Thabo Mbeki?

South African President Thabo Mbeki, whose government has been accused of dragging its heels on providing Aids drugs, is targetted by activists in a newly released music CD, a news report said on Saturday.

The CD, called Jikelele (Zulu for ”all around”) – Global Treatment, sets new lyrics to anti-apartheid songs to criticise Mbeki and his government over its Aids policy, the Saturday Star reported.

Recorded last year by the country’s foremost Aids lobby group Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), it contains 13 so-called ”struggle songs” from the apartheid era preceding democratic elections in 1994, including a popular Zulu song called ”Ingaba senzeni na” (What did we do?).

The lyrics have been changed to: ”What did we do to you, Thabo Mbeki?”

”The songs generally depict Mbeki and South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang along with Aids as the oppressors and TAC as the liberator,” the paper said.

Most of the singers are HIV-positive members of the TAC who come from the townships around Cape Town. The CD was sponsored jointly by the TAC and Doctors without Borders.

The TAC, which has been involved in a battle with the South African government to obtain free anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment for Aids sufferers, last month won a court ruling forcing the state to make the drugs available to all pregnant women to prevent the AIDS virus from infecting their babies.

Mbeki has questioned the link between HIV and Aids, and labelled antiretrovirals ”dangerous”, but his government faces massive pressure on the issue, including from former president Nelson Mandela. – Sapa-AFP

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