Meet Kami, The First HIV-Positive Sesame Streeter

Even though the days are sunny and the air is sweet, things aren’t always perfect on “Sesame Street” … especially in South Africa. There is a new kid on the block there and she’s teaching her neighbors about some of the tough realities of life. Meet Kami (short for the Setswana word “Kamogelo” which means “acceptance”), the 5-year-old, HIV-positive muppet. The cute, yellow girl showed up on “Takalani Sesame” (that’s what it’s called in South Africa) a nervous orphan, afraid that she wouldn’t be accepted because of her disease—but, of course, her neighbors embraced her. And so has the rest of the country. Kami has become a role model in South Africa, providing hope for 28,000 HIV-positive children and 1.4 million orphans and teaching others about the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS. She has even been named a UNICEF ambassador for children. So will Kami be visiting the American “Sesame Street” anytime soon? Not a chance. Even though Kami has proven to be a friendly neighbor with a powerful message, American parents don’t want her moving on to the street, let alone visiting. Why? They feel Kami isn’t appropriate for children. Ummm … yeah. Why would we be concerned about AIDS education in our country? After all, it’s not a problem here, right? I apologize to Kami on behalf of these narrow-minded parents. Here’s hoping that someday they will learn the meaning of “Kamogelo” and truly welcome all kinds of Muppets on our block. Keep up the good work, Kami! [Feministing]