Puppets Against AIDS Favorite 


Dec 1 1988


Johannesburg, South Africa

"Puppets Against Aids was launched by Gary Friedman on 1st December 1988 in time for 'World Aids Day' in Johannesburg, South Africa. During 1987, Friedman had been studying with Muppet master, Jim Henson, in Charleville-Mézières, France. Henson provided the initial financial contribution to launch the African Research and Educational Puppetry Programme 'Puppets Against Aids'.

Although the program began in the streets of Johannesburg and Soweto, it soon spread throughout Southern & Eastern Africa.
In his autobiography, "Swimming through Life", Kenyan activist and health worker Eric Krystall writes "when I first saw a video of Friedman's puppet performance, I was certain I'd stumbled upon the best tool for transmitting social messages in Kenya, particularly in the poor and rural areas where television is scarce. Just as Friedman's Puppets Against Apartheid had made the police laugh, puppets through their comic form and anonymity would be capable of engaging Kenyans in what were otherwise controversial and embarrassing topics for them - namely sex and death."

During the following eight years, Friedman and his team trained Kenyan puppeteers to deliver health related messages to their local communities. Subsequently the project spread throughout the East African region and continues to run with over four hundred puppeteers. (Click here for an article on the Kenyan puppetry work.)

Following Africa, the work spread to Canada, USA, Pacific Islands, Europe and Australia." - http://www.puppetrynews.com/puppets-against-aids.html

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