Presenter: Rageh Omaar
Producer: Zeina Awad
Witness presenter Rageh Omaar heads to one of South Africa’s largest and fastest growing cemeteries.
Once known for being the final resting place of the anti-Apartheid movement’s greatest fallen heroes, Avalon now hosts a less prestigious African legacy – a cemetery fast running out of space because of AIDS.
In this cemetery lie anti-apartheid activists such as Joe Slovo and Tsietsi Mashinini. The cemetery is a signature of the South African struggle for freedom.
The same cemetery today is fighting for its survival against a different enemy: HIV/AIDS. The epidemic is causing so many burials that Avalon is set to run out of space by the end of this decade.
Rageh Omaar and producer Zeina Awad spent time with the family of Gift, an Aids victim who was buried in Avalon after spending many years alienated from his family and neighbours due to the stigma of his illness.
As his sister and remaining family sit a night vigil to communicate with the ancestors, the scale of each personal tragedy becomes apparent.