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BLAISE KOCH BOOK (article first published : 2002-07-21)

Well-known actor Blaise Koch has recently launched his book Blaise Koch: In, Around, Through and Out - an Actor's Life, a two and a half-year journal in which he states that “I'm trying to write my own story, truly and truthfully.”

That story involves the latter part of his life in which he is living with HIV/AIDS. The book is described by Justice Edwin Cameron, who also lives with HIV/AIDS, as “a wry, witty and knowing account of the trivial, the banal and the momentous issues and events that make up one person's life.

“In it, Blaise deals with some profound oppositions that impose themselves on his life. In telling us of his diagnosis with HIV (at an advanced stage of disease progression, when his immune system had been almost totally destroyed), and how he came to terms with it amidst family, friends and career, he explores some contrasts, including those between.”

In describing the publication as an act of courage, an act of assertion and an act of affirmation, Justice Cameron also focuses on Blaise’s battle to cope with the financial strain of the cost of health-restoring drugs. Tribute is also paid to “the moving interventions of a few close family and friends to support him with funds; and ultimately his consignment to the queues and uncertainties of a cost-free drug trial at a public hospital in Cape Town.”

Acknowledgement is also given to the Treatment Action Campaign, “for giving hope to millions in attempting to do what the government is failing to do”.

“In an epidemic of silence, one that has not had enough articulate voices, he has spoken aloud,” says Justice Cameron. “In a country lacking sufficient humour and humane self-knowledge touch, Blaise has written a wry and funny book.

“And most importantly, in proximity to death, he has reminded us of the richness of life. … and how, by affirming it, and claiming it in solidarity with each other, we can in the midst of this vast epidemic enrich our country and our continent and the world.”

Blaise Koch: In, Around, Through and Out - an Actor's Life is published by Spearhead Books and is available at all leading bookshops.




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