In a potent sign of the proportions of the AIDS epidemic in Africa, the South African version of Sesame Street will introduce an HIV-positive muppet next fall:
“”Takalani Sesame” in South Africa is one of several locally produced versions of the children’s program. Egypt, Russia, Germany, Mexico and Spain, among other countries, all have shows modeled after the American “Sesame Street” that premiered in 1969. The South African show uses Muppets similar to the American characters of Big Bird, Elmo and the Cookie Monster. The South African Cookie Monster, for example, is called Zikwe. Sesame Workshop hasn’t revealed the new, HIV-positive character’s name, but it will be a girl Muppet who is an orphan, said Robert Knezevic, head of the company’s international division. In one script being developed, the character is sad because she misses her mother, he said. In another, the character is shunned by children who don’t want to play with her because she is HIV-positive, but the other Muppets rally around her.”
HIV-Positive Muppet on Sesame Street