Vanessa de Castro, Chukuru and Prudence Tshikalange
The mascot tender was part of national Olympic governing body SASCOC's drive to create a national identity around the team, also at future events like the Commonwealth Games, World Games, All Africa Games and Zone VI Games.
Various design agencies were invited to identify and design a mascot that will have both symbolic significance and also be associated with South Africa as a proud and successful sporting nation.
Judges chose a short list of the top six designs which were all showcased in editions of leading lifestyle magazines, YOU
. The sporting public was invited to vote via SMS on the final choice of mascot.
Designed by Mortimer Harvey's Vanessa de Castro and Prudence Tshikalange, Chukuru (pronounced chu-ku-ru) beat over a hundred entries to claim the ultimate prize.
"When we got the brief from SASCOC to design a mascot for the South African Olympic team - we knew, straight away that this was a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," says a proud De Castro. "It was a chance to create something that would represent our Olympic team and the hopes and pride of the entire country. It doesn't get better than that."
"We are honoured and humbled that South Africa voted Chukuru to represent our country at the Olympics and Paralympics," says Tshikalange. "But Chukuru is more than just a mascot competition for Mortimer Harvey, it is also about awareness for the rhino's plight in South Africa."
Dressed in a green-coloured shirt with the SASCOC badge, green shorts and colourful takkies, the rhino's horns are covered with the colours of the five Olympic rings - red, yellow, green, black and blue, which also happen to be the colours of the rainbow nation's flag. To give the rings an Mzansi feel they are made out of Ndebele beads.
According to the designers Chukuru is inspired by the word 'Tshukudu', which means 'rhino' in SeTswana and SeSotho. "Chukuru is not only catchy and memorable, it is also a name that is easy to pronounce and recall for both the South African and international audience."
The life-size mascot was unveiled as the show stopper at SASCOC's kit launch in Johannesburg last week.
Up for grabs for correctly predicting the mascot was a R10 000 cash prize which went to Cape Town resident, Marlaine Lawrence. About Mortimer Harvey
Mortimer Harvey is a Johannesburg-based, full-service and results-driven, integrated communications agency that delivers hardworking advertising and communication solutions. Services include classical above- and below-the-line advertising, brand development and consulting, strategic marketing development, promotions, interactive web services, direct, CRM, public relations and events and sponsorships. For further details, visit www.mortimerharvey.co.za