The making of vulnerabilities: understanding the differentiated effects of HIV and AIDS among street traders in Warwick Junction, Durban, South Africa

  • May Chazan Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By-Drive, Loeb 349, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada
  • Alan Whiteside Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X 54001, Durban 4000, South Africa
Keywords: age and gender differentials, case studies, displacement, ethnographic study, marginalised groups, socio-economic effects, socio-economic and political issues, urbanisation, vulnerable groups


The end of apartheid in South Africa has led to political-economic transition, the deregulation of cities, and increased population mobility, with growing numbers of people living and working in sub-standard and ‘informal' urban conditions. These processes have created a fertile terrain for the rapid spread of HIV, especially in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Few studies have considered how the HIV epidemic's outcomes are interacting with other societal processes, such as globalisation and urbanisation, or how these processes collectively converge with place-specific conditions to expose, drive and compound vulnerabilities to HIV and AIDS. This paper links an analysis of the political economy of South Africa's HIV epidemic with findings from an ethnographic case study with street traders in Warwick Junction, the largest trading hub in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

African Journal of AIDS Research 2007, 6(2): 165–173

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445