Signs of the times in Durban, South Africa



When I travel to a new country, I of course, whip out my camera. I don’t do selfies. I love photographing people crossing the streets. I love photographing architecture. I also love photographing signage.  Signs can give you great insight into cultural scripts and norms, if you pay attention to them.

Currently, I am in Durban for the International AIDS conference. The city is covered in HIV  and local signs alike and intermixed.

Below are the HIV/AIDS Conference banners that highlight the return of the conference to Durban which was last here in the year 2000. Back then that was the 8th International Conference, now we have hit the 21st conference.


Interestingly, I came across this van signage that advertises free medical male circumcision patient transport.


In a country with a history of apartheid, it was interesting to see this billboard on the highway.  What does it mean for this country to put up such a billboard? Does it encourage dialogue? Could the Unites States use such a billboard?


4 replies »

  1. I lived in Durban for 10 years from 1975 to 1985 (Before AIDS but also before democracy). That happened 10 years later (22 years ago) and initially everybody was inspired by the spirit of Nelson Mandela and everybody worked together to become a nation without racial discrimination and racist attitudes. Unfortunately it became necessary to remind people again to refrain from ugly, obnoxious, unpleasant racist remarks and behaviours.


  2. The billboard could be relevant globally cause like our former president Nelson Mandela once said we are not born hating one another because of the colour of our skin if we can learn to hate we can learn to love,so yes racism starts with an individual an can be unlearnt by the same individual if he/she is tolerant and respects cultures of other groups.Please visit Cape Town,make a point of visiting Cpt because Durban may have nice weather but Cpt is one of the most beautiful in the world.


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