BOIPELO BOIKHUTSO

Prestige, a newly formed flash mob business, had its first performance at the Piazza on Tuesday 16 April.

According to Jesse Lodge, a third-year tax student and director of Prestige, the flash mob’s purpose was to create awareness for rhino poaching. “Rhino poaching is undoubtedly an area where people need to stand up and make their voice heard. The youth need to believe in something, a cause that speaks to them, giving their life purpose,” he said

The flash mob started off with two dancers dressed as white rhinos dancing to Akon’s “Lonely”. The other members of the group then joined in and started shuffling to Sweet Brown’s “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That”. Three ladies then led a hip-hop dance to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop”. As the dance progressed, more and more students joined the flash mob performance.

Second-year BCom Law student Savannah Lodge, who is currently in her final year of teaching with the SA Dance Teachers Association of Modern Dance, choreographed the flash mob. According to Savannah Lodge, the song selection was important because it presents a story.

Akon’s “Lonely” depicts a lonely rhino. “Then it moves to ‘Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That’ which is the basis of our dance, depicting that we as the people have to make sure we ‘don’t have time’ to see our beloved animals taken away from us,” she said. “Thrift Shop” illustrates how out of control the poaching industry has become as a result of the love of money.

“The hip-hoppers show off their anger towards these money-making scandals at the expense of one of nature’s most treasured animals,” she said. Rudimental’s “Feel the Love” appeals to the emotional connection people have to the endangered species and “Don’t Stop the Party” represents the passion towards the ongoing cause.

According to StopRhinoPoaching.com, the Department of Environmental Affairs released rhino poaching statistics on 27 March this year. The statistics showed that 188 rhinos have been poached this year, and only 63 arrests have been made. Last year, 668 rhinos were poached and only 267 arrests made.

Sarah Mitchell, a first-year natural sciences student and Prestige dancer, said she joined Prestige because raising awareness with a flash mob was a great idea. “I also think that it is so much fun to do that sort of thing together for a good cause. Completely worth it,” she said.

Jesse Lodge said that there are definitely more flash mobs to come. He further added that they would like to thank Giant Squid for filming the video, which is going to be used to spread the campaign nationwide. He also thanked the university, TuksRag and the TSC who have all supported Prestige in making a difference.

Watch a video of the flashmob on perdeby.co.za

Photos: Tahnee Otto

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