Nandipha Pantsi
2 minute read
12 Aug 2015
2:24 pm

R Mashesha doesn’t owe you his HIV status

Nandipha Pantsi

It was a sad day for local entertainment when news broke that Big Nuz member Sibusiso Khomo aka R Mashesha, had passed away last Friday.

Big Nuz's Sbusiso "R. Mashesha" Khomo. Picture: Facebook

As expected, many of his fans took to social media to express their condolences and to pay tribute to him But it wasn’t long until social media users (who somehow believed it was their business) started speculating about the cause of his death.

It’s no secret that Mashesha had been ill in the last couple of years. He lost a lot of weight and even had to stop performing for a while to focus on his health.

As soon as this happened, Mashesha became a target for cyber bullies who urged him to get tested for HIV, this escalated to jokes about the virus and the rapper’s weight loss.

Even after Mashesha addressed the rumors in an interview with Drum Magazine in which he said he wasn’t HIV positive, he was still the subject of jokes about HIV.

The exact same thing happened to rapper, K.O after after he dropped a few kilos last year. The rapper got so tired of people making fun of him and accusing him of having HIV that he filmed his HIV test and posted the results on social media.

“Lies just like the truth, do not change,” the rapper wrote on his Facebook page. “So I will forgive you all for stirring up false info and inaccurate speculations about my health (LOL and calling me names).

I don’t know anything about R. Mashesha’s health, or what caused his death.

But here’s what I do know:

This “show and shame” HIV status trend needs to stop. So what if a celebrity is HIV positive?

Unless you’re having sex with the person, their status is none of your business. Being a public figure doesn’t mean they’ve forfeited the right to privacy about their health. Secondly, you don’t need a medical degree to know that weight loss can be caused by a hundred other things besides HIV. (How are we still so ignorant about this in 2015?)

South Africa has one of the highest HIV and Aids infection rates in the world. Chances are high that you could have a friend, or family member infected or affected by the virus, how is HIV still a laughing matter?

Tweets: 
*Anita_cakana @anita_ckn 
1/2 Ppl out here are already speculating that R mashesha got killed by HIV 1.he never informed the public abt his status

*nozipho cele @missnozipho 
South Africa Let those without sin cast the first stone. unless u are certain u will never be diagnosed with HIV, RIP R Mashesha.

*ORAFADED @Orafaded 
Nothing irritates me more than people that think R Mashesha died coz of HIV/Aids even if it was the case …So? grow up

*@ChadLeClose 
Who said its HIV? Don’t be stupid nxa