Recognition: NZAF African Programme honours Love Cover Protect (LCP) ambassadors and the Zimbabwean high achievers

(caption for the above picture: Phillipa Muza facilitating Chitongo and members of his Marimba Band)

The Zimbabwe High Achievers Awards Dinner was held at Papanui Workingmen's Club in Christchurch November 19, 2016. The event was the first of its kind and was well attended with over140 people present. This event was sponsored by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF)'s African Programme popularly known by its brand name Love Cover Protect (LCP). The other organisations that made contributions to this event were Midas Hornby, Beyoncé Hair Extensions and Canterbury Business Association. The event was the brainchild of the Christchurch-based LCP Community Engagement Co-ordinator Phillipa Muza and her volunteers Lydia Magura, Ezekiel Mafusire and Kaibos Mapuranga.

The main objective of this event was to recognize outstanding and committed LCP volunteers. In addition, it was to acknowledge the conspicuous contributions of African community members living in Christchurch who have pushed the limits against all odds and succeeded as community role models.

LCP actively works with African communities to raise HIV awareness and HIV prevention. Apart from HIV prevention, LCP supports and empowers African communities living in New Zealand, on issues such as human rights and social justice.

The occasion was graced by the NZAF Programme Manager-African Communities, Kudakwashe Tuwe, the Chairman of the Zimbabweans in Canterbury, Simon Mutonhori, Councilor Jimmy Chen from the Christchurch City Council and other leaders from African communities in the City.

The guests were entertained by the staunch supporter of LCP programme, Chitongo Marimba Band. The band played inspiring cultural and African traditional music. The awards were put into seven categories and the winners were:
• Academic Excellence: Dr Eldared Kahiya
• Career Models: Dr Taurai Chikura (Specialist Physician),Philemon Goto (New Zealand Police) and Nothando Musesengwa (Advocate/ Solicitor)
• Entrepreneurship: Lloyd Mrengu, Melisa-Pireni Ndebele, Taz Mukorombindo and Taurai Musoni
• Youth Entrepreneurship: Rudo Mapuranga
• Youth Academic Excellence: Takudwa Mururi
• Community Championship: Kaibos Irvine Mapuranga
• Culture Gurus: Mr & Mr Chitongo

Tuwe spoke about the LCP projects in the community, regarding HIV prevention. He encouraged everyone to get tested so as to know their status and get treated if one is positive. Tuwe informed the attendees that there is free HIV treatment in New Zealand.  Tuwe also acknowledged and appreciated the support LCP gets from the African communities through their effective and bona-fide participation.

The Chairman of the Zimbabweans in Canterbury Mutonhori, thanked LCP for the way it is working, supporting and empowering the communities in its quest to end HIV. Mutonhori appreciated the award recipients for their hard work and effort to achieve what they have done. He encouraged the recipients, as role models, to inspire others, in doing well. All the award winners expressed their appreciation and acknowledgement to LCP.

- Phillipa Muza