Deputy Minister gets down in SCRUTINIZE dance

Another one, lekker stuff!! thought Kabelo (24) when he received an email from Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), requesting that he represent the Scrutinize campaign at an event at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in Pretoria.

The difficulty of waking up in the cold mornings of a small mining area of Khutsong, Carletonville, did not at all bother the young Scrutinize peer educator from local NGO, Mothusimpilo. For him to be on time for the event, which focused on healthy lifestyles, Kabelo had to leave home at 6am.

The National Department of Health was launching the International Move for Health campaign at the TUT Ga-Rankuwa campus in Pretoria, and JHHESA was invited as partner. The day started with a 3km walk from Baetiretsi ELC centre to TUT, where the event was hosted. About 3 000 people attended this event, the majority of them TUT students.

Scrutinize (Kabelo) was on the panel of speakers with the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, The Director General for Health, Ms P Matsoso as well the Executive Director of Corporate Affairs and Marketing at TUT.

When the Deputy Minister invited the fellow speaker from Scrutinize to join her on stage, Kabelo realised just how serious this was. The students, who are the Scrutinize target market, attended in numbers, making up 90% of the audience.

When Kabelo took the stage and introduced the Scrutinize campaign on the messages of alcohol and substance abuse, Multiple and concurrent partnerships (MCP) and Correct and Consistent Condom use (CCCU, he was worried when the audience looked uninterested. Kabelo then knew it was because of the words he was using - certainly not be the language students would use to talk about these issues.

Kabelo then screamed "My selector!" as he gave the DJ a signal to play the "Happy Song", and he performed the Scrutinize dance that the peer educators at Mothusimpilo had choreographed to encourage young people to participate in Scrutinize campaign activities.

The other Scrutinizers joined Kabelo on stage to perform the signature Scrutinize dance and the Deputy Minister did not take a back seat, as she willingly stood up to "get down" to the tune and acrobatic moves being performed on stage. The crowd roared and gladly joined in to the famous and SAMA-nominated dance song.

The crowd and panel speakers also joined in loudly screaming the Scrutinize slogan, highlighting the dangers of alcohol use, along with him "Don't let Mshibiza Shibobo your style, Flip HIV into HI victory!"

Kabelo knew then that the message had been received.

During her speech, the Deputy Minister spoke about the four major contributors to mortality in South Africa: HIV and AIDS, mother and infant mortality, road accidents, and violence against women and children.

She mentioned that programmes such as Scrutinize, which are aimed at and led by

young people are relevant to today's youth challenges and should continue to play a significant role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Interestingly, the students made use of the free HCT services that was offered by Right -To-Care and JHPIEGO on the day.

Afterwards, Kabelo said: "This was my opportunity to show everyone that Scrutinize is accessible to the youth, and it is just not about the TV ads. As a young person I never thought I would ever be part of such high-profile delegation."

About Scrutinize

Scrutinize is a public health campaign which encourages the Youth to "scrutinize" or understand their risk of HIV infection in relation to multiple concurrent partners, correct and consistent condom use, transactional sex (sex for money), intergenerational sex (sugar daddies) and alcohol use.

Scrutinize is a national campaign being undertaken by the JHU Program in South Africa and funded by USAID/PEPFAR.