Nkosi Johnson

by Brittany from Sycamore Jr. High

Nkosi speaking about AIDS (
Nkosi speaking about AIDS (

What is a hero? To me a hero is a man or women, boy or girl, who has qualities such as faith, adaptability, hope, humor, strength, and courage. They are someone who believes in themselves 100% of everyday. One little boy who stood out and became my hero is Nkosi Johnson, a boy from South Africa born with HIV positive, better known as AIDS. Nkosi survived many more years then expected. He spoke all around the world about AIDS. That is how he became my hero.


His mother Gail, who was also diagnosed with AIDS, raised Nkosi Johnson who was born with HIV positive and lived in Johannesburg Africa. Nkosi was not supposed to live past age two, but lived to the age of twelve. During those twelve years he accomplished more than any average person would in a lifetime. He told his life story to many people around the world. In one of his speeches he said, “Our dream is to establish care centers for HIV/AIDS mothers and their children (infected or not) to ensure that they are able to live in an environment of acceptance and understanding. Here they will learn to care for themselves and their children and cope effectively with the new challenges that HIV/AIDS will present to them.” After fighting the struggles of AIDS, and living without a father, Nkosi became the oldest living child born with AIDS.

Nkosi was a “survivor” hero because of how he fought against AIDS. He survived beyond his second birthday which is unusual in HIV infected babies. In 1991, Nkosi was admitted to a crowded AIDS care center after his mother was released from a hospital and was too weak to care for her son. She was dying. Nkosi was also a “hero within” because he never gave up and lived his short life to the fullest.

Another heroic type that Nkosi was is a “hero to others near and far.” He said, “please help people with AIDS, support them, love them, and care for them.” He also said, “people with AIDS are normal. We have hands, we have feet, we can walk, we can talk, and we have needs just like everyone else, don’t be afraid of us- we are all the same.”

Nkosi Johnson (
Nkosi Johnson (

Page created on 10/27/2005 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 7/10/2020 4:00:55 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

About Nkosi - This website tells you all about Nkosi and his life.
Specail South Africans - This website tells you about aids and how Nkosi handles the virus.
Nkosi's Story - This website tells you all about Nkosi's struggle and gives you a backgroung about aids.

Extra Info

Thank you to Mr. Stern and Ms. Webb, my teachers, for helping me with my hero project!!!!!