KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsGugu Dlamini Park
Where? Samora Machel Street, Central Durban, Durban
What is, essentially, a roof garden above the Workshop in central Durban, the Gugu Dlamini Park (formerly Central Park) was named on World Aids Day, 1 December 2000, in tribute to Gugu Dlamini for breaking the silence on Aids in South Africa.
At the park's centre is a giant red ribbon, The Aids Ribbon, a huge sculpture atop a mosaic mound. There is also a Wall of Hope and a dedication plaque to the woman who forced the country to come to terms with AIDS.
Gugu Dlamini was beaten to death near KwaMashu just outside Durban, in December 1998, for coming out about her HIV status just after she appeared on national television to tell the country her story. Gugu was a volunteer field worker for the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS.
Shortly after her televised appearance, she again disclosed her status at a stadium in KwaMashu, which has one of the highest rates of HIV in the country.
This was a bold move on her part. At the time the stigma around HIV/AIDS meant that nobody revealed their HIV status or talked about the disease as a social issue. There was open animosity towards people who spoke openly about these issues, particularly as HIV/AIDS was seen as immoral.
The fear that she would infect others merely by being in the same room as them meant that she was killed by a group of men from her township. Her death brought to everyone's attention the discrimination prevalent in the country.
The park is not always safe. There is a high prevalence of street kids and vagrants, so take care when walking alone.