Angels Heroes

Xolani Nkosi Johnson

by Heidi from Riley

Nkosi Johnson (
Nkosi Johnson (

X-ray vision, tights and capes, flying powers are all characteristics of the well known T.V. Super Heroes. But as many people come to ignore, heroes come in many different forms, ranging from firefighters, doctors, parents, grandparents, or even your friends. Heroes can be found in your everyday life. You could even be a hero to a little boy or girl and have never known. Nkosi Johnson was only eleven years old when he became a hero to many. He used his bravery, courage, and will to prove that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve just about anything. Proving to others you can do it is a frame of mind, only you have the ability to achieve it. Nkosi Johnson was strong-willed because he saw the best through his circumstances, motivated kids and other that there is still hope, and slowly but surely left his imprint on the world.

Nkosi Johnson (
Nkosi Johnson (

Imagine people telling you the outcome of living past two is slim. How would you react? Nkosi Johnson was born HIV Positive in a small town of Zuzuland in South Africa that has now vanished from the maps. He was passed the disease from his mom during birth; he had no choice or way to prevent it. That is the saddest part of his situation. Growing up without a father, and a mother that cannot take care of him, not even if she tried, is something most kids cannot/will never be able to understand. Nkosi Johnson was placed with a foster mother named Gail Johnson. She soon gave Nkosi the strength to believe in a better future. Shortly after that, Nkosi started to grow his wings and make a difference in his future.

Nkosi Johnson (
Nkosi Johnson (

"We are normal. We have hands. We have feet. We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else. Don't be afraid of us. We are all the same" (Johnson)! Nkosi made his beliefs very clear to the thousands of people in Durban at the International Aids Conference in 2000. Nkosi talked about his life with Aids and how people did not want to let him attend public school like everyone else. Aids/HIV is a disease with the blood. It cannot be passed on with a simple hug. They are not monsters. Show them the respect everyone deserves. "Care for us and accept us - we are all human beings" (Johnson). That surely changed when he was accepted to attend his first public school. You should have seen the cutest smile he shared with a local newspaper when he heard the news.

Not only did Nkosi inspire people with his speeches, he actually acted upon it and started a foundation called Nkosi Heaven. It's a place where families with Aids/HIV are able to be a family and stay together. They are hosting many families to this day. Nkosi's dream was to get at least five of his foundations all over the world. He is a very young boy with a huge dream to change many futures. "I am going to get it accomplished, no matter how long it takes," is something he told himself. But, Nkosi was sick, and getting weaker each and every day. In 2001, Nkosi died at age twelve from Aids. Nkosi dream was to start five Nkosi Heavens, and with the people having that in mind, they made sure this little boy's dream came true.

Nkosi Johnson
Nkosi Johnson

Nkosi saw the best through his circumstances, motivated kids and others that there is still hope, and left his imprint on the world as he slowly slipped away. Even though Nkosi lived a rough life, he still found a reason to live and a will to keep holding on. He also did whatever he could to have people understand the criteria of his disease. Leaving the worlds at such a young age, Nkosi is still spoken of highly and always remembered. Not only has Nkosi Johnson affected my life with his story, I am pretty confident he would affect yours too. Even though he is not around to this day, he is a fighter whose soul will live on forever. He is a hero in my eyes and to many others, too.

Page created on 6/21/2012 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/21/2012 12:00:00 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.

Extra Info

- Introduction Poem-
I am Nkosi Johnson
I never knew my father
My mommy died of cancer
I was born HIV Positive
I shocked everyone when I turned two
I was shipped off to a foster home
I am from South Africa
I finally was able to attend public school
I made a speech in 2000 that impacted many
I am Nkosi Johnson -Free Verse Poem- Shocking many, he survived past two. Being born HIV Positive is a hard disease to face. Growing up with strangers, he never knew what home felt like. Never knowing your father and losing a mother is never easy to overcome. Growing up HIV Positive made him strong. In 2000 he made a speech that influenced many. Nkosi Johnson is Definitely a SOUL TO KEEP.

Author Info

"Care for us and accept us - we are all human beings" (Johnson).