Talk show legend Oprah Winfrey is taking on HIV/AIDS in Africa by empowering women to look after themselves.

The big-hearted American has this week (ends5DEC03) visited southern Africa to help boost anti-HIV initiatives.

On Sunday (29NOV03) she joined stars including Bono and Beyonce Knowles in Cape Town, South Africa, for a free concert to support former President NELSON MANDELA's work in stopping the deadly virus, and she's now in the Zambian capital Lusaka for the same purpose.

She told reporters there, "The world is kind, good and wants to help, but it can only help when it understands the disease.

"The important thing being done is to keep more mothers alive. Because if more mothers are alive, there will be less orphans in society.

"My goal is to empower women and children. I want women to know that they are also important."

MOSES SINKALA, chairman of the LUSAKA URBAN DISTRICT HEALTH MANAGEMENT TEAM, says, "We are most honoured and thrilled to have Oprah visiting us in person. This will obviously create greater awareness among our mothers, especially those already infected with HIV."

An estimated 22 per cent of Zambian adults are infected with the virus, while the death toll among Southern African adults is creating a generation of orphaned and ill children. The region is home to 26.6 million of the 34 to 46 million people worldwide living with HIV.

05/12/2003 17:20