In Memorium: Manasseh Phiri (1958–2019)


On April 12, 2019, the world lost a staunch HIV advocate who was a dear friend and partner to many on the AVAC team. Zambian-born Manasseh Phiri was a doctor, writer, and radio journalist, activist, advocate, mentor, and farmer. He managed this long list of roles with passion, courage, wisdom, intelligence, and humor. He was a champion for African-led responses to HIV, from research to program design, and never lost sight of the need to do more to find strategies for the next generation. Once, when asked about “what kept him awake at night” regarding AIDS, he replied that he thought of his grandson and the work that remained to be done to keep his generation safe. Dr. Phiri was remarkably candid about male circumcision — including his own — and about learning to move beyond personal comfort zones to do good activism. A staunch ally of LGBT folks, Phiri also spoke about the ways that culture and tradition had affected him adversely when it came to working with “key populations.” This is the kind of powerful honesty and self-reflection that made him a role model to so many of us. He will be missed, but his influence lives on with so many of us.

Type: Document
Year of publication: 2019
Resource topic: Advocacy
Resource type: Profile
Organization: AVAC
Languages: English