Written by on March 18, 2019



WINNIE Mabena was born HIV positive but she only discovered her status when she was 16. Now 30 years old, Winnie says she is still not angry with anyone or bitter about her situation because life gives us various choices and what really matters is what we do with them.

She has already authored a motivational book for people living with HIV, entitled “Living Positively”.

We caught up with Winnie on her recent visit to Lusaka and this is what she had to say:

The Sun:

How did you discover that you were HIV positive?

Winnie: When it was confirmed that my mother was HIV positive, a test was quickly carried out on all of us children and I happened to be the only one among my four (4) who was found to be positive.

The Sun:

What did you do after you discovered your status?

Winnie: What do you do when it seems all hope is lost? I made a wise decision. I chose to live my dreams. My story is my gift!

The Sun:

How have you been living your life since the time you discovered you were HIV positive?

Winnie: Living positively demanded that I work on the limitations that work against me. Living the life I want not what others want for me. I put a stop to the negative thoughts concerning my life. This helped me maintain best social interactions that strengthen my immune system. I loved my body and everything about it, I do what I know best to keep up because no one knows me as I do, except God.

Life became more meaningful the day I realized my purpose. From that day, I told myself that time to think about me for myself was now. I understood clearly from the onset that if I was willing to dream big, my dream would make someone’s reality. My breath and every heartbeat is simply for that someone. It is not “My Status”, it is “The Status”.

HIV is in me and it is not me. When God created me, He created me without it; He did not create me with it. I met up with it along the way. Many medical advances are undertaken nearly every day to address this; for a minute am meant to think there could be an actual cure. That makes me question, what will become of my life after then, after a cure is found? Because of this, I choose not to define myself by my status. I am not HIV Positive, I am Just a carrier of HIV; Living Positively is my lifestyle!

I write this with tears flowing through my eyes, it is gratitude as God has helped me to see myself better and more visibly because of what I carry, it’s just luggage and I can drop it any minute. Somewhat I remember the days when I did not know how to deal with what is inside of me. I regret not choosing to learn about it then.

Therefore, I say to my fears, many people woke up without diseases in their lives and are long gone. However, am still here, can’t I be grateful? Can I ask what makes me different because the status is not mine? Why then should I allow someone to treat me with less value when I know now that I am valuable?

What matters to me is self-care, self-love and self-development for my competence to transverse through that which I was designed for a purpose. If it is not my status then it should not bother me and it does not anymore.

Today I stand strong on my feet with depths of gratitude exuding from my ever-resilient loving heart and I bend humbly on my knees feeling the grounding support that life always provides. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude because I know that we do not just become but we go through a process sometimes too painful to look ahead and sometimes the future looks blared.

Like iron in a blast furnace, it is never a cool place. There is heat everywhere and sometimes we just jump out but eventually we are purified and become.

I close my eyes to remind myself of the season. I was scared to start off on a journey to Living Positively because now I understand that if only I looked on the positive side of everything I could have done it better because I am someone’s answered prayer…we all are answered prayers but you have to realize that and keep the dream alive by understanding our core purpose in this life.

We have to hold on to our values and appreciate every step of our Journey. Every trial, test or even failure pushes us to the next level unless we choose to remain at failing point. Then we realize that we have to trust the process.

The Sun:

What are you doing now?

Winnie: I empower others to live above life’s challenges and develop a positive mindset so they can live longer lives. I am the Living Positively Brand at Living Positively. I am the founder of The Knowledge Effect and the author of Living Positively.

I am grateful that God allowed me to be a carrier. I was made capable and was qualified to empower others. This made me to stop looking for approval and understand that I will never get it. It just does not matter if I get a pat on the back or not because I stopped pleasing people, I just do my work to empower others to live above life’s challenges and develop a positive attitude.

The Sun:

What advice would you give to someone who has refused to accept his or her HIV status?

Winnie: Nothing just happens. Everything is as it is supposed to be and so I keep running in spaces of gratitude, in spaces of celebrations and in spaces I see nothing but roses that beautify “my gardens”.

If you want to live in a good place, you have to create that environment. As you create your environment, embrace your sufferings in the process because you do not dwell there. Just walk through the pain because you cannot go over it or below it. You have to go through it.

So today, I stand strong on my feet with depths of gratitude, unshaken by the circumstances before me because I am grateful that I am in charge here.

I choose to live today and live like never before because my being alive is a key driver to the life I see on my vision board.

I do not know what is going to happen after my story goes public, but I will be happy to serve someone.

Everything you have gone through, and survived has given you a cure which prepares you for the journey ahead.

Make living positively your lifestyle!

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