Condom has a rough ride in black south-easter

Cape Town's largest condom had the ride of its life on Wednesday night when it was blown off the wall of the central city civic centre by gale-force winds.

Fortunately, the five-storey high banner, which depicts a realistic-looking (but not realistically sized) male contraceptive below the words "Condoms make it safer", did not prove dangerous to anyone's health.

"At least it didn't land on someone's head," said city medical officer of health Ivan Toms, the brains behind the condom. "No one was hurt. Basically the wind ripped it into pieces and now there are bits flapping on the building. I don't imagine I'll be able to get it up again."

Tom's condom has already been the centre of debate in the executive committee of the new Cape Town unicity, with some more conservative members feeling uncomfortable about the display of a 20m high, multi-coloured male penis - even if it is wrapped in rubber.

Mayor Peter Marais ruled that the giant banner could stay "for now" - but he didn't take Mother Nature into account.

"Perhaps we will replace it with something new," said Toms. "The idea was just to raise awareness about the dangers of HIV/Aids and to remind everyone in the city to protect themselves. We didn't mean to offend, but Aids isn't a subject you can handle with kid gloves."

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