Gay Nobel Peace Prize nominee gets married
South African HIV/AIDS activist Zackie Achmat has married his partner Dalli Weyers.
The couple, who met in 2005, wed in front of 300 guests at the Imperial Yacht Club in Lakeside, Cape Town in a lavish ceremony performed by a judge.
Mr Achmat was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 2004 in recognition of his activist work.
Guests were seated on picnic blankets under the shelter of a Bedouin tent during the ceremony.
Former British High Commissioner Ann Grant acted as master of ceremonies for the event.
The wedding cake took the form of a tower of chocolate brownies with two figure, a king and a cowboy, depicting the grooms, reports South Africa’s Sunday Times.
“Safe sex, antiretroviral drugs and rock n roll” was the tagline on their wedding invitations.
Same-sex marriages have been legal in South Africa since 2005.
Head of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Mr Achmat, who is HIV positive, has been campaigning for better access to medicine for those with HIV/AIDS who cannot afford private health treatment.
The man Nelson Mandela called a national hero forced the South African government to finally approve a five-year plan to distribute free AIDS treatment drugs to those in need.
In 1999, Mr Achmat risked his own life to save the lives of others by refusing treatment until drugs were made available to all South Africans, not just the ones who could afford them.
Four years later, the South African government stopped claiming that HIV did not cause AIDS and that it would make treatment available to all who need them.
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Just last year, an organisation Treatment Information Group treid to charge Mr Achmat with genocide at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
They believed the most effective way of curing HIV was with natural and tribal medicines.
The group alleged that he played a “direct criminal role in the deaths of thousands of South Africans from poisoning from so-called antiretroviral drugs.”
Mr Achmat was born in Johnnesburg and raised in the Muslim community in Cape Town.
He started his political life at the early age of 14, as one of the leaders of the 1976 anti-apartheid school boycotts, for which he was imprisoned.
He went on to found the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality.