The COVID-COMFORT-CONNECTION-CHALLENGE brings relief during difficult times

Posted on July 14, 2021

Staff from the Department of Marketing Management expressed a need to connect with one another during times of lockdown and working from home. This need sparked the idea for the Covid-Comfort-Connection-Challenge (C-C-C-C) by the Head of Department, Prof Yolanda Jordaan.
“The C-C-C-Challenge kicked-off on 1 June 2021 and stretched over a four-week period. The initiative entailed that staff had to complete short surveys containing interesting and fun questions about themselves, followed by quizzes the following day where colleagues had to answer questions based on the survey answers from the previous day,” said Prof Jordaan. In total, staff completed 10 surveys and 10 quizzes. Throughout the month, staff received emails containing feedback on the progress of the team, interesting facts about their colleagues, as well as summarised feedback based on the information staff shared in the surveys.
The surveys contained a variety of questions ranging from work-related questions to personal and fun questions.
  • Staff learned more about one another with questions such as: Where were you born?, How many siblings do you have?, What was your first paying job?, Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met? and What do you normally eat for breakfast?
  • The C-C-C-C was made fun with question such as: If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?, If you had to eat a crayon, what colour would you choose, and why?, and What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
  • Aspirational questions created many connections between staff, with questions such as: What is one thing on the very top of your bucket list?, What sport would you compete in if you were in the Olympics?, and If you weren’t in this career, what would you see yourself doing?
  • Staff even had to complete a multiple-choice question test from one of the undergraduate semester tests. They also had the opportunity to share what they find most challenging in their lives during Covid – only to realise that many share the same fears.
The C-C-C-C culminated in a special online ceremony held on 1 July. During this event, staff connected further when individuals with similar breakfast habits were shared, revealing the ‘serious cereal team’ and the ‘eggs give you the edge team’. Staff were amazed when they learned about some of the jobs their colleagues would do if they were not in academia – the options ranged from game rangers and helicopter pilots to drama teachers and pathologists. Revealing the weirdest food some have eaten – elephant, baby camel, octopus ink sac and frog legs – certainly increased the chatter during this special ceremony.
Being the Department of Marketing Management, it was interesting to see the brands that staff would like to become brand managers of. Here are the preferences: Veldskoen, Outdoor Warehouse, Discovery, Woolworths, L’Oréal, Canon, l'Occitane, BMW, Samsung, Volkswagen, Ferrari, Nike and Adidas.
A discussion on totems ensued when the team was asked about spirit animals. Several staff members revealed their totems, namely elephant, eland (or Mhofu in Shona) and crocodile. More insight was shared with colleagues on what it means to have a totem, and how you cannot marry someone with the same totem as you.
After lots of interesting conversations, it was time to announce the spot prizes and the C-C-C-C champions.
  • Spot prize 1: Early bird (answering the questions first in the morning). Dr Felix Bello
  • Spot prize 2: Night owl (answering the questions last). Vuvu Ngculu
  • Spot prize 3: Highest mark in a quiz. Dr Rejoice Tobias-Mamina with 92,3%
  • Spot prize 4: Individuals who gave info about themselves that nobody guessed right.
    • Dr Liezl-Marie van der Westhuizen - nobody got ‘Who was born in Durban?’ correct
    • Prof Elizabeth du Preez & Bianca Frost - nobody matched this specific pair with gymnastics as their Olympics event
  • Spot prize 5: Only one to guess an answer right (3 winners).
    • Mafa Makumbi – only person that guessed right how many people identified the brand RED BULL correctly
    • Dr Liezl-Marie van der Westhuizen – only person to identify Coca-Cola as a decoy brand in the brand manager question
    • Thinkwell Ndhlovu – only person to identify that beef tongue was not one of the weirdest food items eaten
  • Spot prize 6: Most scientific answers. Odia Botha
  • Spot prize 7: Most consistent in terms of their preferences. Phuti Tshivashe (with tinned fish)
  • Spot prize 8: The most challenging answer. Prof Melanie Wiese (with ‘fresh corit’)
  • Spot prize 9: Scored zero in a quiz. Dr Michael Humbani
  • Spot prize 10: Weirdest food item eaten. Sotira Petrou (with fried octopus ink sac)
  • Spot prize 11: Who guessed the winner right. Dr Tinashe Ndoro
  • Bonus prize: Dr Danita van Heerden was fastest in the chat box with the answer to ‘What does C-C-C-C stand for?’ Answer: Covid-Comfort-Connection-Challenge
Then it was time to announce the overall winners (highest percentage in the quizzes).
  • 3rd place = Dr Michelle van der Merwe
  • 2nd place = Prof Tania Maree
  • 1st place = Dr Danita van Heerden (with the highest average for all the activities over the month)
The ceremony ended in good spirits with some of the following comments:
  • Thank you for the effort and CCCC experience. It was awesome!!!
  • This has been amazing, I loved every second of it!
  • It was a wonderful experience!
  • It was fun and interesting
  • I can't wait for the next one!! xxx
  • And we learned so much about one another – which is fabulous!
  • Loved it! Could not wait for it each day!
  • Yes, I'm going to miss getting the emails each day.
  • It has been a highlight of each day!!!
  • You have no idea how much it helped me to feel connected with fellow colleagues and also it made me reflect more on who I am. Now I know some of my colleagues much better than before.
  • Thank you for giving your time to make sure that we are connected as a team during these uncertain times. I can't thank you enough.
  • Stay safe – miss you all!
  • Have great day, everyone – miss you!
A very grateful C-C-C-C administrator ended the ceremony with a heart filled with so much gratitude for the great individuals in the Department of Marketing Management. What a privilege to have such an awesome team!
Please take care… until we meet again at the office, in person.
A staff photo taken during the Department of Marketing Management's 50th anniversary celebrations in 2020. 
- Author Department of Marketing Management
Published by Nonkululeko Kubeka Moyo

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