16 Jul 2021

It is with great sadness that the MTV Staying Alive Foundation announces the passing of Joachim John Jacobs, close friend and treasured advisor to our organisation, and Director of the HIV & AIDS Programme at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Mr Jacobs passed away Thursday 8th July at the age of 60 due to COVID-19-related illnesses.

Joachim was an essential contributor to our work across all of our content and channels, advising on everything from storylines across MTV Shuga to the full concept and delivery of our peer education programme. His influence on our work can be seen in all of our global campaigns, covering South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria and India.

Dr Jim Lees, dear friend, fellow MTV SAF advisor and Joachim’s academic partner of 17 years knew his passion for the work well: “Through the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, he sat with countless groups of young women and young men around South Africa who have suffered terrible sexual abuse. He facilitated safe spaces so that young people could tell their stories, often for the first time.”

“There are endless young people, university students, who became HIV peer educators whose lives were changed by Joachim. He believed in people and showed them their own possibilities and helped them discover their own strengths. He was so proud of the many peer educators who have gone on to do wonderful work helping others in all they do”.

Georgia Arnold, Director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, said, “The world is a lesser place today, but it is so much better for what Joachim left behind”.

Whether working with young Peer Educators or MTV SAF producers he was always his extraordinary authentic self, and we are truly grateful for how he showed how each of us has the ability and opportunity to impact our own community.