The Grace of the Lord Is Upon Me
by Sithabile Dzingayi

"The first year after my husband’s death I was bottling up emotions, still in denial that my husband was dead. My strength to survive came from God."

This is a heartfelt account of what it can be like to have HIV. The author, Sithabile Dzingayi, was married and living in Zimbabwe when her husband, in apparent good health, died suddenly. Life afterwards was very difficult. Dzingayi had five children. She took work as a seamstress, but she was often sick from hunger, even craving soil to supplement low iron levels in her blood. During this time, she met a woman who was bearing up under extreme poverty, having lost many family members to AIDS. As the author states, “AIDS was pandemic in the 1980s period…” In Zimbabwe, a whole generation, almost, was lost. She shared her children’s used clothes with the woman and attributed this willingness to share, along with the other events of her life, to Biblical stories, visions, and prophecies.

Still experiencing poor health, she finally moved to London where eventually, and to her disbelief, she was diagnosed with HIV, the precursor to AIDS. She had believed this was impossible since by that time, her husband had been dead ten years and had not appeared to be in poor health before he passed. Additionally, Dzingayi had not engaged in sex since he died. Now, after taking many different medications and finding ones that worked best, she has been HIV-free for some time, has gotten education, found employment and built a new life in London.

Dzingayi’s book is short, containing numerous Bible verses interwoven with her story. It is a sincere message to those outside Africa to recognize what a horrendous impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic had on its countrymen, many of whom died never knowing what disease they were afflicted with and with no access to proper care. Her writing reflects her determination to communicate to others the necessity to get medical treatment, but also to seek Christian contact and Biblical comfort. This is one brave woman’s story of physical suffering, but receiving mental and spiritual assistance.

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