By: Alyssa Tremblay
An HIV-positive female Muppet named Kami has been announced as one of the star characters in a Nigerian adaptation of the children’s television show Sesame Street.
Set to hit West Africa’s air waves this October, Sesame Square will aim to address the issues of HIV and AIDS in a country where there are an estimated 278,000 HIV-positive children, according to the National Agency for Control of AIDS.
First introduced on Takalani Sesame in South Africa, Kami is described by Wikipedia as “a furry yellow five-year-old HIV-positive girl Muppet orphaned by AIDS who always has the sniffles.” Her name is derived from the word Kamogelo, which, in the South African language of Setswana, means acceptance.
In related education news from across the globe, a young man in east China’s Anhui Province who was refused a teaching position by a school because he was HIV-positive awaits a verdict after his discrimination lawsuit went to court last Wednesday.
“I am from a very small place,” Wu was quoted by newspapers as saying. “People would gossip about me on the streets or in restaurants if they knew my identity. It is really scary.”
The case is the first of its kind in mainland China and is made complicated due to two opposing laws: a state-wide civil service recruitment policy which denies HIV carriers from working for the government, and a recently imposed Employment Promotion Law which makes it illegal to reject anyone looking for a job on the basis of an infectious disease.
“At first all I wanted was to have this job and be a teacher, which is a legal right for me,” Wu said, Global Times reported. “Now I am worrying whether I would take the job even if I win the case. Everyone in the education department might know that I am HIV-positive. And the city will know sooner or later. I cannot even think about the pressure.”