Quote of the week

[Nostalgia] is rarely the past as actually experienced, of course; it is the past as imagined, as idealized through memory and desire. In this sense … nostalgia is less about the past than about the present. It operates through what Mikhail Bakhtin called an ‘historical inversion’: the ideal that is not being lived now is projected into the past.

David Medalie
17 December 2009

Manto Tshabalala-Msimang: In her own words

Respecting the feelings of her family and friends, but not wanting to be hypocritical, I will rather not comment on the death of former health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. It is always very painful for those close to someone when he or she dies and one should respect their feelings. I am, however,  reproducing several quotes from the late Minister below without comment.

17 Nov 2006
“The incident of my illness was portrayed as an opportunity to turn others into champions of a campaign to rid our government of the so-called ‘HIV and AIDS denial at the highest level’.” (ANC Today)
8 October 2006
“I can’t stop working. The health of the nation depends on it.”
28 August 2006
“I think the TAC was just a disgrace, a disgrace not only to the [health] department but a disgrace to the whole country. But I think, as South Africa, we really demonstrated that we are doing pretty well.” Manto After the AIDS conference in Toronto 2006

18 August 2006
“There is this notion that traditional medicine is some quack thing practised by primitive people… unfortunately 80 percent of our people don’t care about ‘scientifically proven’.”
7 June 2006
“People say ‘your stall is great’. I don’t know what they are reporting on at home. We haven’t shocked the world, we have told the truth…I don’t mind being called Dr Beetroot.” – Health Minister Tshabalala-Msimang, responding to criticism of South Africa’s garlic, lemon and beetroot exhibit at the International Aids Conference in Toronto…2 vials of pills were hurriedly added to the stand on Sunday after journalists posed questions about the absence of antiretroviral drugs.
7 June 2006
“Shall I repeat garlic, shall I talk about beetroot, shall I talk about lemon… these delay the development of HIV to Aids-defining conditions, and that’s the truth.” Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said in debate on her department’s budget vote.
30 June 2005
“Nutrition is the basis of good health and it can stop the progression from HIV to full-blown Aids, and eating garlic, olive oil, beetroot and the African potato boosts the immune system to ensure the body is able to defend itself against the virus and live with it. I am sure that loveLife will continue to raise that.”
8 June 2005
“beetroot, garlic, lemon … and buy a bottle of olive oil. All these things are very critical.”
10 May 2005
“Dr Rath’s work complies with and complements our programmes.”
10 May 2005
“I don’t know how many [South Africans] with HIV would want to take anti-retrovirals.”
5 May 2005
“When we were being pressured to use ARVs, we did warn about the side effects, and when I get reports about the people on ARVs nobody presents to me how many people have fallen off the programme or died because of the side effects.”
5 May 2005
“Raw garlic and a skin of the lemon – not only do they give you a beautiful face and skin but they also protect you from disease.”
9 February 2004
” I think garlic is absolutely critical. Lemon is absolutely critical to boost the immune system. Olive oil is absolutely critical … just one teaspoon, it will last the whole month.”
1 April 2003
(Aids)… “could also be a God-given opportunity for moral and spiritual growth, a time to review our assumptions about sin and morality”.
19 December 2002
“Look at what Bush is doing. He could invade.” … Manto on why money needs to be spent on defence rather than treating AIDS
14 May 2001
“Some are going to be disappointed that we are not going to give the ARVs [antiretrovirals] tomorrow, but it is this message which does not get through – that people are getting treatment even if there are no ARVs.”
7 November 2000
“Today I want to dispel this myth, because it is absolutely not true .[ that ARV’s work ] The pharmaceutical industry and those who have a vested interest in the drug industry fuels this propaganda.”
8 November 2000
“We (the ANC government) have no plans to introduce the wholesale administration of these drugs in the public sector. ARVs are not a cure for Aids.”
September 2000
Robbie: You have said that the policy of the ministry is well known. Do you accept that HIV causes Aids? 

Tshabalala-Msimang: Why do you ask me that question today? I have answered that question umpteen times. 

R: Yes, and the answer is? 

T-M: Umpteen times I have answered that question. My whole track record of having worked at the area of HIV and Aids for the last 20 years is testimony. Why should you ask me that question today? 

R: You haven’t answered the question, Manto. 

T-M: Why should you ask me that question? 

R: To avoid confusion. 

T-M: I have never said anything contrary to what you want me to say today. 

R: So, therefore, you accept that HIV causes Aids. 

T-M: You are not going to put words into my mouth. 

R: I am not putting words into your mouth. I am asking you a question. 

T-M: Yes you are. 

R: I am asking you a straight – now hold on a second – I am asking you a straight question, the minister of health of South Africa, I am asking you a question: does HIV cause Aids? 

T-M: I have been party to developing a strategic framework and that strategy testifies what my policy understandings of the HIV epidemic are. If you haven’t read that, please go and read it. And then you will understand where I depart from. 

R: Manto, Manto. A simple yes or no is the answer I am looking for. 

T-M: You will not force me into a corner into saying yes or no. 

R: I am not forcing you into a corner, I am asking you a straight question – I find your reaction bizarre. 

T-M: I would advise you to read the strategic framework. You have to analyse it. It is important for the media to inform the public about the positions of government … It is time that when you interview people, not on yes or no, but on the tenets of the framework.

November 1999
“There is not substantial data that AZT stops the transmission of HIV from mother to child. There is too much conflicting data to make concrete policy.”
November 1999
“South Africa is the only country in the world who gives AZT to health workers for needle-stick injuries. It’s very doubtful that we’re doing the right thing.”
November 1999
“The fact is that some of the mice [tested on with AZT] have contracted cancer. It attacks bone marrow. It is very toxic.”
November 1999
“AZT was never meant to treat HIV. It was meant to treat cancer and, when it was discovered to be toxic, the drug companies stopped clinic trials of the drug because it was so toxic. Is this drug really one we want to use?”
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