Moja Maisha: South Africa
Hope and Home in the Face of the Largest HIV Crisis on Earth
Moja Maisha: South Africa is a documentary about the legacy of Nkosi Johnson, a South African boy born with HIV who went on to become one of the most influential AIDS activists in the world, and the lives he has impacted. Before his passing in 2001 of AIDS at 12 years of age, Nkosi shared a dream of opening a shelter for mothers and children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. His dream became a reality shortly before his passing when he and his adopted mother, Gail Johnson, opened Nkosi's Haven.
For the last 16 years, Nkosi’s Haven has provided holistic care and support to destitute HIV/AIDS infected mothers, their children, and AIDS orphans in Johannesburg. Filmed in 2013, the documentary also shares the stories of some of Nkosi's residents as they face the challenges that come from being affected by HIV, how they persevere on a daily basis with grit and determination, and find hope and home in the face of the largest HIV crisis on Earth.
Moja Maisha is Swahili for "one life."
This is a song by Petros, Jubal, Purna, and Lucky - four boys who live in orphanages in South Africa, Nepal, and Peru. For all but one of them, it's their first time recording a rap, let alone writing about their lives.
100% of the proceeds from this single will be donated to their respective orphanages.
A few years ago, I spent the better part of a year living in orphanages around the world, getting to know the kids and their caretakers, learning their stories. When word would get around that I'm a rapper, it was usually just a matter of time until the kids and I would sit around a table, hammer out a beat with our fists, and freestyle, or read raps or poetry. It was a way to remove barriers and connect on a deeper level.
Some of the kids asked me to lead a few impromptu hip hop classes, and help them write a verse about their lives: where they came from, what it's like now, where they want to go.
Petros, Jubal, Purna, and Lucky were game to have me record them rapping to a basic drum beat graciously made by a friend. When I returned home, I worked on crafting an instrumental for their verses. This is their song. These are their stories. I feel honored to have been there to listen, to press record, and produce it.