In post-apartheid South Africa, testimony and personal narrative have opened a space for marginalised voices to emerge. At the same time, to testify is to occupy a position of vulnerability. This paper focuses on a series of self-portraits by HIV-positive women and points to how their entry into the public sphere and the global art market has been conditioned by their social and economic marginality. These portraits have been read as 'maps', providing access to the truth of the subjects they represent. Such readings perpetuate rather than challenge the myth of the transparent, authentic African subject.