The Effects of Transfer of Learning and Literacy: An Analysis of Graffiti and Sgraffitiin the City of Johannesburg

Main Article Content

Farai Chinangure
Lawrence Mapaire


The study examined the social effects of graffiti as pieces of writing or drawings scribbled, scratched or sprayed on surfaces of public toilets or bus termini. The study followed a qualitative exploratory design in which the researchers observed the messages expressed in the graffiti and conducted a discourse analysis on their effects on the moral fabric of society. Themes and perceptions towards some societal ills emerged from the analysis. The main aim of the study was thus to unravel the possible social issues expressed through this art of graffiti and sgraffitti. A purposive total sample size of 10 public toilets and bus termini was used for the study. Among the major findings of this study was the view that the messages conveyed through the graffiti and sgraffitti expressed a disapproval and distaste of such anti-social acts as promiscuity, prostitution and crime that are prevalent in the city of Johannesburg and its environs. In addition, gender based violence, stereotypes prejudices and stigmas against women, homosexuality and HIV/AIDS were among the dominant graffiti and sgrafitto messages. The study concluded that although graffiti and sgraffitti artists tend to deform and deface some public utilities, their call for normative social behaviour in society shows that there is a need to deconstruct a number of societal biases such as gender biases, sex, sexual orientation, stigmas, stereotypes and other prejudices associated with the diverse nature of the human species. The recommendation made by this study is that there is a dire need for advocacy by social workers, the city fathers, the metro police division and other human rights organisations to deconstruct and demystify certain human practices, acts and mind sets.

Attitudes, gender, graffiti, anti-social behaviour, sexual orientation, stereotypes, prejudices.

Article Details

How to Cite
Chinangure, F., & Mapaire, L. (2019). The Effects of Transfer of Learning and Literacy: An Analysis of Graffiti and Sgraffitiin the City of Johannesburg. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 32(4), 1-13.
Short Research Article


Bates JA, Martin M. The thematic content of graffiti as a nonreactive indicator of male and female attitudes. The Journal of Sex Research. 1980;16(4):300-315.

Ross JI. Encyclopedia of street crime in America. Rutledge. New York; 2013.

Rowe T, Hutton R. Is your city pretty anyway?’ Perspectives on graffiti and the urban landscape Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology. 2012;45 (1):66–86.

Ferrell J. Urban graffiti: Crime, control and resistance. Youth and Society. 1995; 27(1):73–92.

Halsey M, Young A. The meanings of graffiti and municipal administration. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. 2002;35:165–186.

Lachmann R. Graffiti as career and ideology. American Journal of Sociology. 1988;94:229–250.

Halsey M, Young A. Our desires are ungovernable’: writing graffiti in urban space. Theoretical Criminology. 2006;10 (3):275–306.

Ross JI, Wright BS. I've got better things to worry about: Police perceptions of graffiti and street art in a Large. Rutledge. New York; 2014.

Kramer R. Moral panics and urban growth machines: Official reactions to graffiti in New York City, 1990–2005. Qualitative Sociology.2 010;33:297–311.

Macdonald N. The graffiti subculture: Youth, masculinity and identity in London and New. York. Palgrave. London; 2001.

Rowe M. Graffiti and Street Art: Reading, Writing and Representing the City.Palgrave. London; 2012.

Otta E. Graffiti in the 1990s. A study of inscriptions on rest room walls. Journal of social psychology. Taylor and Francis; 1993.

Rodriguez A, Clair RP. Southern Journal of Communication: Sex, sexual orientation, racial identity. Taylor and Francis; 1999.

Young A. Negotiated consent or zero tolerance? Responding the graffiti and street art in Melbourne. City. 2010;(14):99–11.

Bruner EM, Kelso P. Gender differences in graffiti a semiotic perspective. Women studies international quarterly. 2003;22: 282.

Mutekwe E, Modiba M. An evaluation of gender sensitive textbooks in Zimbabwean secondary school curriculum. The anthropologist. Taylor and Francis; 2012.

Creswell JW, Clark VLP. Approaching and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications; 2008.

Kramer R. Painting with permission-Legal graffiti in New York City. Sage. New York; 2010.

Nick L, Susan JL. Through the looking glass: considering the challenges visual methodologies raise for qualitative research Qualitative Research in Psychology. 2005;4(2):213-225.

Taylor MF. Addicted to the risk, recognition and respect that the graffiti life-style provides: Towards an understanding of the reasons for graffiti engagement; 2012.

Macdonald N. The graffiti sub-culture youth masculinity and identity in London and new York .Palgrave and Macmillan; 2002.

Frances R. Selling Sex, Hidden History of History. UNSW Press, New York; 2007.

Wilson J. Identity, power, vengeance in prison holding facility. 2008;(9):99-121.

Ditmore MH. Historical guide to controversial issues in America: Prostitution and sex work, Greenwood. California; 2011.

Chinangure F, Mutekwe E. Exploring university students’ gender role attitudes and their effects on sexuality and behaviour towards HIV/AIDS prevention: A case study. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. 2014;5(4): 1590-1595.

Frances R. Selling Sex, Hidden history of history. UNSW Press, New York; 2007.

Kange’the R, Mafa F. Evaluating the survival strategies adopted by single mothers to enhance their livelihood in Zimbabwe from literature review. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. 2014;5(4):1590-1595.