A rally of more than 700 men and women, who are activists, endorsed the launch of the pan-African I DREAM Movement in Maputo last Saturday.
They came from diverse bairros (divisions) of the city, from Boane, Matola, Machava, and Maputo. The activists and friends of the EU DREAM (meaning “I DREAM” in Portuguese) movement came from DREAM centres and also from other neighbourhoods of the city of Maputo.
“We are all activists. We must unite more and more each day, because although the fight against HIV and AIDS is challenging, together we can win it!” cried Percina Nassone from the platform. “If the results of the DREAM Programme in Mozambique, throughout six years of activity, are those we are aware of – more than 15,000 people on treatment, more than 30,000 receiving care, more than 4,000 children born healthy, without the virus – then it means that we are on the right track. We need to fight every day against all forms of discrimination! We must be many and we must stand together.”
The international EU DREAM Movement was born from the DREAM (Drugs Resources Enhancement against Aids and Malnutrition) Programme in 2003 in Mozambique. It was born in Maputo, because it is here that the Programme conceived by the Community of Sant’Egidio started in 2002. Today, the Programme is present in 10 African countries and the Movement itself is turning international too. In the coming months, several public rallies will be held in other African countries to introduce the Movement.
Stewart Sukuma, a Mozambican singer who is very well known in Africa, animated the event with his band. “I am honoured to contribute to this cause, which everyone should be involved in directly. In a certain sense, all we Africans are infected by this virus. Music serves to dream and to struggle. The message of hope that the Movement of EU DREAM is launching here in Maputo should be taken very seriously. There is the need to think about the young generations, as DREAM does. We need to dream with DREAM!” said the singer, visibly moved. He was speaking after a group of children let coloured balloons fly into the sky of Africa, with the Manifesto of the Movement read by actress Ana Magaia.
On the side of the platform, a big rainbow, symbol of alliance and of peace, served as a background for the pavilion of Estrela Vermelha, which continued to fill up with people coming from all Maputo.
The President of the Municipal Council, Eneas Comiche, opened the rally. In his address, referring to the DREAM video which had just been screened, he said: “The video that we have seen is a testimony that it is possible to eliminate this pandemic. It is a witness to courage! We listened to a woman saying: ‘I am not a ghost! I too want to be involved with you in the struggle against stigma and discrimination.’ A person who is isolated from her/his community is a person who is unhappy and prone not to seek treatment. Solidarity is a must and should be a commitment for us all!”
At the end of his address, Comiche invited Ana Maria Muhai, one of the first activists of the Movement and one of the witnesses featured in the video screened, to come on the platform, to embrace her and to thank her in the name of all those present. Together, they danced to the music of the EU DREAM chant and the rally closed with a joyful party that involved all the activists present.