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Advance Funeral For AIDS-infected South African

Johannesburg, April 4. No one has heard of a funeral before death but a South African man having survived with HIV/AIDS plans to stage and attend his own funeral.//

Solomon Zimba has already bought his casket and organized the funeral ceremony that will coincide with his birthday and the 10th anniversary of his diagnosis on Sep 27, the Sowetan newspaper said.

"I can't wait to be at my own funeral service," the 32-year-old said, adding: "I know I am going to die but I want my family and friends to attend my funeral while I am still alive."

The married father of one from Tembisa Township east of Johannesburg plans to be the key speaker at the funeral service and has shocked a local company with his request for a casket and his plans.

"People don't usually announce the date of their funeral while they are living," Nokwanda Bophani of Myendeki Funeral Services was quoted as saying about Zimba's plans.

Zimba, who received a top award for community work in the country's Gauteng Province in 2004, told the newspaper he had tried to kill himself several times after he was diagnosed with the disease.

More than five million South Africans are infected with HIV/AIDS. Few people disclose their status.


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