South Africa uses gaming for a Youth COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign
Western Cape Health partners with Ekasi Esports in Vaccination Drive
It’s hip to be vaxxed and few communities are more on-trend than South African gamers who have partnered with the Western Cape Department of Health on a vaccination drive. Led by township gaming collective Ekasi Esports, a group of local gamers are descending on Khayelitsha’s Thusong Centre at midday from 10 December to host a series of back-to-back gaming tournaments that feature the pro-vaccination message.
The Western Cape Department of Health will be on site to administer vaccines and to advise the youth that vaccination means there is little chance of ending up in hospital with severe Covid-19. Government recently announced vaccination is now open to South Africans and foreign nationals as young as 12 years old. The Department, as a partner of Ekasi Esports, will simultaneously ensure all mobile and console-based gaming activities at the Thusong Centre take place in a socially-distant environment with easy access to sanitisers, spare face masks and other elements designed to beat the Coronavirus.
According to James Kruger, Director Khayelitsha Eastern Substructure of the Western Cape Department of Health: “This is a great opportunity for the youngsters in Khayelitsha. We all need to get vaccinated and save our summer.”
“We’re excited about our involvement with the Western Cape Department of Health as we can help them communicate the vaccine message through our social media channels and in-person gaming events,”
says Perfect Zikhali, managing director of Ekasi Esports.
“We know that this new partnership will go a long way towards advancing the pro-vaxx message in townships across the province. Gamers who are particularly skilled in games like FIFA 22 and Tekken 7 are now looked up to many communities in the same way township youth idolize the sports stars of the track and field,”
added Mr Zikhali.
Mobile esports and gaming is well-suited to millions of township gamers because competing or simply entertaining oneself doesn’t require additional hardware. The Free Fire mobile game, for example, has more than 100 million daily active users worldwide and is free to download via the Android and Apple Store. In addition, mobile gaming where competitors are virtual respects the current need to keep safe.
“As we’re seeing with the Khayelitsha vaccination drive and Covid-19 awareness campaign, gaming can be a force for good and a powerful agent of positive social change,”
concludes Mr Zikhali.
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