Feature Friday: TAKALANI SESAME COMMEMORATES WORLD AIDS DAY BY INVITING FANS OF ALL AGES AROUND THE WORLD TO HELP KAMI GROW HER ONLINE RIBBON

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Actress Kristen Bell Encourage Support for Campaign

Takalani Sesame, the beloved South African educational children’s programme, which has been broadcast on SABC for over 12 years, will commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1st with the help of a furry yellow MuppetTM friend named Kami who lives with HIV. Children and families will see Kami in a multimedia campaign on Takalani Sesame’sFacebook page and website, inviting everyone from around the globe to help her build an AIDS ribbon. While ribbon builders come together to learn about and express their respect and support for those living with HIV/AIDS, Kami hopes to grow awareness for the disease as she simultaneously grows her ribbon.

By sending Kami a text, picture and/or audio-visual message via SMS, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, or clicking on Takalani Sesame’swebsite from November 18th to December 13th, participants will be helping her achieve her dream of having the most beads possible in her World AIDS Day ribbon. By simply visiting www.facebook.com/takalani.sesame.edu or www.takalanisesame.co.za, viewers can play their part because every interaction with Kami counts—and builds! Whether participants choose to send a picture, text or audio-visual message, Kami’s ribbon will add a bead provided they include the hashtag #takalanisesameworldaidsday in all communications.

Additionally, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation have lent their support to the campaign by filming a message to encourage viewers to get involved. Actress Kristen Bell also lent her support to Kami’s Ribbon Building Campaign with a special video message of her own. These video messages will be broadcast on SABC and can be viewed on www.facebook.com/takalani.sesame.edu  and on the website www.takalanisesame.co.za

The Steve Biko Foundation (@BikoFoundation),  The Encylopaedia of South African Arts, Culture & Heritage (http://esaach.org.za) and Writes Associates South Africa (http://www.writeassociates.co.za) have also pledged their support in one way or another.

Takalani Sesame has an important role to play in raising awareness among children not only by educating them about HIV/AIDS, but by also teaching them to be caring of those who live with illness,” says Yasmeen Engelbrecht, Local Project Director for Takalani Sesame, Sesame Workshop. “By helping Kami build this ribbon in support of World AIDS Day, Takalani Sesame can continue to help grow a community of people who respect, appreciate and understand each other’s differences, but more importantly, their shared similarities.” 

An impact assessment of the series revealed that exposure to Takalani Sesame on television or radio was associated with improvements in 3- to 6-year-old children’s knowledge and attitudes regarding HIV and AIDS. Educators also noted improvements in HIV and AIDS knowledge among children: Before exposure to Takalani Sesame, 25 percent of educators indicated that the children had understood or heard of HIV and AIDS; after exposure, the figure increased to 80 percent[1].

Takalani Sesame currently in its sixth season, is at the start of five more years of fresh educational television and radio as well as new digital and mobile content, and is proudly brought to viewers in a partnership between Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street,  Department of Basic Education (DBE), Sanlam, SABC and producers of the show Kwasukasukela(KWK).

How to Build the Digital Ribbon

Fans of Takalani Sesame can help Kami and friends make the digital ribbon grow by using the following platforms:

  • Takalani Sesane’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/takalani.sesame.edu to like, comment, post a video, or send a picture,
  • Twitter: @lovetakalani or #takalanisesameworldaidsday,
  • SMS: WAD Your Name and Surname to 33470. For example: WAD Name Surname (SMS cost R1.50, Errors billed, Free Minutes do not apply, T&C apply),
  • WhatsApp: 073-123-4567,
  • e-mail: WAD@takalanisesame.mobi

Participants are requested to join this initiative from November 18th to December 13th. Every effort to support Kami’s call-to-action counts in growing the ribbon.


[1] Khulisa Management Services (2005). Impact Assessment of Takalani Sesame Season II Programe. Report prepared for the Takalani Sesame Project at SABC Educational Television. Johannesburg, South Africa.

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