Locals and even those visiting Cape Town often find themselves driving past bright red heart signs – which from a distance just look like some kind of traffic sign – along the side of a number of roads, but few know what these signs are actually doing there.

These unique hearts are in fact part of The Secret Love Project, a registered non-profit organisation that operates throughout the Mother City.

You may have seen homeless people selling rainbow-coloured heart-shaped stickers on different streets in Cape Town – these are also part of the same organisation.

Even the hanging heart at Camps Bay is part of the project.

Every month, The Secret Love Project gives out 10 000 free packs of heart stickers to 100 registered sellers, who sell them to motorists or pedestrians for R20 each and keep 100% of the sale profit. This puts roughly R200 000 a month and R2.4-million a year in the collective pockets of those in need in our local communities.

The project began as a collaborative artwork designed to spread a message of love around the world using the heart shape in 2014.

Another heart representing the project’s message at The Yard in Roodehek Street.

The works were created by South African artist Michael Elion and scattered around Cape Town so that anyone who looks at them can be reminded that they are loved, and to love others. There are 15 houses around Cape Town with one of these hearts painted on them and a unconfirmed number of signs around the city.


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More street signs like this in the world, please. ❤️ Inspired by our very own Derren Brown. 🇬🇧 The Secret Love Project… ‘The Secret Love Project is an urban artwork that uses the heart shape to spread love in the world. Inspired by the work of Derren Brown – a UK mentalist and hypnotist who has done experiments in public space using signs, symbols and language to orchestrate collective consciousness – the project was conceptualised and initiated by artist, Michael Elion. The Secret Love Project was spawned from the curiosity of how art, symbols and visual perception can influence our behaviour.’ #❤️ #love #secretloveproject #capetown #inspiration #community #beautifulroads #southafrica #lionshead #signalhill #sign #art #collective #heart #hearts #instalove #people #look #driving #streetart #guerillaart #campaign #vegan #vegantravel #lovevegan #vegansofig #behaviouraleconomics #consciousness #derrenbrown #mindfulness @secretloveproject

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The Secret Love Project is also in essence a social engineering experiment that explores how symbols and signs that the community sees in their everyday lives influences their behavior and collective consciousness.

Another sign in Cape Town.

The project asks the question, “If we notice a positive symbol everywhere we go in the city, will it influence our perception of that city and possibly even influence our behaviour?”

So the next time you see a heart somewhere in the Mother City or are offered a pack of colourful heart-shaped stickers remember to spread a little love of your own.

Find out more about The Secret Love Project or donate here.

Pictures: Facebook/Michael Elion/manda.in.squares/The Secret Love Project

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