Thembi Ngubane was 19 when she first met Joe Richman, Executive Producer of Radio Diaries, who handed her a tape recorder and a mike to record her everyday life for a year. Over the course of the year, she kept an audio diary of her inner-most thoughts and her daily struggles. During that time she recorded more than 50 hours of tape, which was then edited into a half-hour documentary.
During her tour of the United States in April and May of 2006, Thembi presented her story to American high school and college students across the country, congressional staff in Washington, DC, AIDS doctors in Boston, celebrities in Hollywood and HIV-positive teens in Chicago. She recorded a video diary for MTV. On the last day of the tour, Thembi was invited to represent people living with AIDS on a special CNN global broadcast with President Bill Clinton and actor-activist Richard Gere.
The diary was first heard on South Africa radio stations in March 2007, following Thembi’s tours to the United States, United Kingdom, and Austria. It was broadcast throughout the country on the national broadcaster, SABC, as well as community radio stations in English, Xhosa, and Zulu. The broadcasts coincided with the launch of a two-week speaking tour of the country, presenting Radio Diaries and Thembi's story at high schools, universities, AIDS organisations, clinics, and other public listening and discussion events. As part of the tour, CDs of Thembi’s AIDS Diary in English, Xhosa, and Zulu were distributed.
Radio Diaries, a United States based non-profit production company, creates first-person documentaries for public radio.Radio Diaries’ Executive Producer Joe Richman produced this documentary. According to Richman, Thembi’s AIDS Diary proved to be a powerful tool in the United States to help reduce the stigma of AIDS and to highlight the need for antiretroviral drugs in Africa.
E-mail received from Joe Richman/Radio Diaries on March 15 2007 and Radio Diaries website.