To loud and joyful applause, Pacaltsdorp High School learner Olwethu Sayidini was announced as the overall winner of the GO GEORGE Anti-vandalism Rap Competition for high schools held at the George Arts Theatre on Wednesday 10 August 2022. His catchy chorus lyrics will certainly stay on repeat in the minds of the audience: “Please stop the vandalism, it is not a pranksterism, you don’t want to end up in prison!”
The runners-up are both from George High School: Graziel Heathcote (second place) and Likho Ntshohgontshi (third place). The three winners were selected from 10 finalists entered by eight high schools in George.
The competition formed part of a focused, multi-pronged campaign by GO GEORGE to raise the alarm and to focus attention on the vexing social issue of vandalism, and specifically the vandalism of GO GEORGE infrastructure (buses and shelters) provided at high cost for the benefit of the community.
Entrants had to comply with specific criteria relating, amongst others, to the use of the words GO GEORGE and vandalism, in addition to the requirement that the content should not be offensive in any way and be suitable for distribution. The original lyrics the contestants came up with were inspiring and powerful, speaking about the negative influence of vandalism on the bus service and their communities, as well as the consequences to the perpetrator. Their messages will be strengthened by using the media to which the youth respond, such as Facebook, TikTok and Instagram.
George Executive Mayor, Alderman Leon van Wyk, handed over the prizes to the three winners. He reiterated the importance of preventing vandalism. “We are acutely aware that the GO GEORGE and overall municipal anti-vandalism drive has been born out of the necessity to put a stop to the scourge of vandalism in our town and in our communities,” he said. “Vandalism is not a prank or a game; it is a criminal offence that can have lasting consequences for the perpetrators. I am truly heartened by what I have seen and heard tonight – vandalism needs to be discouraged at all costs. I believe that this competition represents a very relevant and powerful form of expression, used by our youth who have the power to influence their peers.”
The winner of the competition received Beats Solo3 wireless on-ear headphones, the second-prize winner a set of Skullcandy wireless earbuds, and the winner of the third prize went home with a JBL flip 5 Bluetooth speaker. Each finalist received a goodie bag containing vouchers or products from various sponsors including Margot Swiss, Watsons Meat, Coca-Cola, Root Café, Nando’s, RocoMamas, Spur and Panarotti’s.