We Are All The Same

Genre: Nonfiction; Author: Jim Wooten; Publisher: Penguin

ABC News senior correspondent Jim Wooten recounts the brief but poignant life of Nkosi Johnson, a South African Zulu born with HIV, in We Are All The Same. His ailing birth mother, also infected, gives him up at age 3 to be raised by the Johnsons, a white family in Johannesburg. After Nkosi bucks expectations that he wouldn’t live another year, he and his adoptive mother, Gail, attract national attention when she lobbies for him to be admitted to school. They are then thrust into the global spotlight when Nkosi, at 11, is chosen to speak at an international AIDS conference. Young Nkosi effectively puts a human face on a disease that has ravaged a continent, but Wooten’s didacticism frustratingly comes across more as a sterilized news segment than an urgent appeal.

Originally posted November 5 2004 — 12:00 AM EST

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