The #RollUpYourSleevesSA campaign launched by Solidarity Fund has received massive amplification and access to the sporting world by the entrance of Black Label. The two big brands encourage South Africans to get their sleeves up and get vaccinated so we may all return to the stadiums and enjoy our champions again.

“The sleeves up campaign is a gesture to fight reluctance of people getting vaccinated because we all want to get back in the stands. Our teams want us back in the stands. We, as football, rugby, sport-loving South Africans, want to get back in the stands, so whatever we can do as Black Label to get more people to be vaccinated, that we will do. So we are at the front-end of rolling up sleeves, and we are not afraid of getting our hands dirty,” Arne Rust, Black Label Brand Manager, told Diskiafrika in a virtual interview.

There has been widespread apathy to vaccinations in general, with the figures still way below the government targets. The Solidarity Fund embarked on a drive to spread credible information on vaccinating, and this has now been given impetus by Black Label, especially with sports fans. It is Solidarity Fund’s wish that as many South Africans as possible get vaccinated so that life might return to some normalcy.

“The return of fans to stadium allows teams to thrive, creates camaraderie amongst South Africans, who are known to be patriotic and competitive. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken this away from us, it is important for us to ensure that we take back our lives and the economy,” the Solidarity Fund said in written replies to Diskiafrika.

At the moment, the government has set a limit of 2000 people at outdoor sporting events. The South African Football Association has already tried it at one international match and sold tickets for the next Bafana Bafana match. On the 31st of October, the Premier Soccer League had fans at the MTN Cup final in Durban.

The current system does not work well for the PSL, and the organisation is reluctant to allow fans back into stadiums until the situation becomes more conducive. It causes massive losses for the PSL to open up and pay for all the facilities at a stadium for just two thousand people, given that the majority will enter for free anyway because of the ticket allocation system. Black Label has been engaging with different stakeholders in the effort for a return to stadiums.

“We’ve been working very closely through our corporate affairs teams with government departments because we all have a vested interest to sort out this Covid thing. We need to get on with it, get it in the past, and keep on keeping on as a country. We agree with the way the government has phased in the opening of sports because safety comes first,” Rust explained. Solidarity Fund feels the same way and thinks that many more South Africans will roll up their sleeves and get the jab with the correct information.

“Data from the Solidarity Fund campaign has informed us that about 70% of South African have an intention to vaccinate. Many are not taking the decision to vaccinate for reasons that include not having enough information, confused about the misinformation that is mostly on the internet and social media platforms,” notes the Solidarity Fund.

Just by walking around with your #sleevesup, you too can show support to the growing movement to get more of us vaccinated and back in the stadiums singing and shouting for our teams.