What do shebeens (township taverns frequented by local residents in township areas) have in common with World Aids Day? Plenty, according to the outreach staff at Health4Men, a project of the Anova Health Institute that provides free sexual healthcare to men to have sex with men (MSM) in South Africa.
Health4Men has partnered with approximately sixty shebeens in Soweto and in township areas in Cape Town, including Khayelitsha and Gugulethu. These shebeens act as conduits for the dissemination of free condoms and sachets of water-based lubricant, posters and specially designed coasters that promote responsible sex between men, all provided by Health4Men. In addition to promoting sexual health, messaging challenges homoprejudice and discrimination based on sexual identity.
World Aids Day 2012 saw the second annual shebeen challenge, with ten participating shebeens competing for two floating trophies in Soweto and Cape Town respectively. Each participating venue was given identical materials to decorate with, including red ribbon, red candles, balloons, gauze and garlands, red raffia and of course, red condoms. Panels of judges visited the shebeens and scored them on the visibility of condoms and lubricant sachets, the prominence of responsible sex messaging and finally, their creative use of the decorative materials supplied.
The winning venue in Soweto is Nkululeko’s Place. Cape Town’s 2012 winning shebeen, for the second year in a row, is Mina’s Place in Crossroads. Congratulations to both establishments for their commitment to promoting sexual health and HIV awareness, and for challenging prejudice and stigma.
To see the pictures of our proud winners click here.