Warrior Princess: Fighting for Life with Courage and Hope

Imagine losing your mother, father, sister, brother and husband to a deadly disease. Then imagine carrying the killer HIV virus in your own body as well. To be honest, that scenario is beyond my capacity to imagine – and yet it is the reality Princess Zulu of Zambia lives with each and every day.  And yet, in her book “Warrior Princess: Fighting for Life with Courage and Hope,” Princess Zulu tells a compelling and inspiring story that will not only capture your heart, but  hopefully will move you into action as well.

On January 2, 1998 Princess discovered that she was HIV positive. However, she refused to be defeated by that diagnosis, but instead committed herself to doing everything humanly possible to educate, inform and to fight for life. Her own nation of Zambia and the entire sub-Saharan region of Africa has been devastated by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Consider some of the most recent statistics:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most heavily affected by HIV worldwide, accounting for over two thirds (67%) of all people living with HIV and for nearly three quarters (72%) of AIDS-related deaths in 2008.
  • An estimated 1.9 million [1.6 million–2.2 million] people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2008, bringing to 22.4 million [20.8 million–24.1 million] the number of people living with HIV.
  • In 2008, more than 14 million children in sub-Saharan Africa had lost one or both parents to AIDS.
  • The nine countries in southern Africa continue to bear a disproportionate share of the global AIDS burden—each of them has an adult HIV prevalence greater than 10%.

Early in Princess Zulu’s spiritual journey she received a series of prophetic words and Scriptures that would guide and empower her life and mission. She tells the story of a word she received in 1996 from the Prophet Zimba who shared a vision of Princess “standing at an airport carrying suitcases. There were flights going in different directions, all around the world. The flags of many nations were waving about, but some were standing out stronger than others: the flags of Canada, Australia and America. And the American flag had come to a standstill” (pages 78-79).  Little did Princess know that God would one day carry this simple Zambian woman to the places of power in her own nation and around the globe to speak as a advocate for those suffering from the impact of  HIV and AIDS – especially women and vulnerable children.

Princess is one gutsy woman. One of the techniques she used to raise awareness about HIV was to pose as a commercial sex worker and “work” the truckers who would travel through her region. When they would solicit her for sex, she would make them aware of her HIV status and then educate them about the dangers of their own behavior and how they were contributing to the spread of the virus. While at times controversial, Princess would not let the conventional wisdom set the pace for the education of Africans regarding this deadly disease.

Princess is a wonderful storyteller and one of my favorite stories in the book recalls the famous “President Bush Kiss.”  Princess was invited to the White House to speak the President around the occasion of his PEPFAR initiative. The picture I included in this blogpost is worth one thousand words, but I encourage you to pick up the book to read the story behind the kiss.

From the White House to the gym at Eisenhower School. In 2008 our community of faith was fortunate to have Princess Zulu with us for a worship gathering. She shared a powerful message of compassion and hope and I encourage you to listen to it.

Please read Princess Zulu’s story. You will be inspired and I pray you will be moved into action. If you would like to learn more about the work of World Vision and our partnership in Guraghe, Ethiopia, please leave a comment and I would be pleased to connect you to this important work.

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