Celebrating the Zwakala community champions

Celebrating the Zwakala community champions

The young South African role models helping to keep their community safe

Our Zwakala community champions are young and inspirational role models making a difference in South Africa’s fight against COVID-19.

During the pandemic, in a township called Khayelitsha in Western Cape, highly respected role models have put their names and faces to Verified’s Zwakala – ‘join the movement’ – campaign. They have appeared on giant murals in the community, taken part in social media live sessions and recorded videos, urging safe practices.

Now, a new group of Zwakala champions are encouraging community members to get vaccinated in these short videos you can watch and share with your followers on social media to help build vaccine confidence.

The champions include radio DJ Zukisa Wonqwelo (aka DJ Welo), surfer Liann Ali, rugby player Onke Dubase and nutritional expert Robyn-Leigh Mentor. We celebrate their creativity and ability to reach audiences who need access to this live-saving information.

Around 27% of the South African population is fully vaccinated (as of January 2022), and while this is higher than many countries in Africa, there is a long way to go before everyone is protected.

One of the huge tasks for the country right now is addressing so-called ‘COVID fatigue’. Because the pandemic has lasted for such a long time and caused so much social and economic damage, it has become more of a challenge to encourage people – especially the young – to continue following the guidelines. Some have grown weary and need the right voices to influence them to carry on protecting themselves, their friends and families.

This is why our Zwakala champions are so crucial. Their words resonate with young people. They have the cultural credibility to cut through the harmful COVID misinformation that has been spreading and deliver trusted messages about wearing masks, sanitising your hands, physically distancing and taking the shot.

Worldwide, people have helped their communities through this pandemic. We salute their efforts.