TuksSport at the University of Pretoria (UP) recently introduced its new mascot to the University community – a bateleur eagle (which is native to Southern Africa) provisionally named Masey.
“The mascot is a high flyer and continually strives to do better and be better,” said Angelica van Dou, Marketing and Communications Manager at TuksSport, of Masey, whose stand-out features are fluffy black hair and a big red beak, and who sports a graduation cap. “The new mascot is tenacious in their pursuit of their ideals of being a true Tukkie.”
Notably, the mascot is gender neutral. “In line with the efforts of the University to create an inclusive/non-conforming gender landscape, we felt that introducing a gender-neutral mascot was what was called for,” Van Dou said. “We wanted each UP student, athlete and community member to see themselves in the mascot and be able to identify with a symbol we are being very mindful about introducing.”
UP Vice-Chancellor Professor Tawana Kupe with the University's mascot bateleur eagle provisionally named Masey and TuksSport Director Steven Ball.
Van Dou stressed the significance of having a mascot. “Having a mascot is an opportunity to communicate the values of an organisation through a character. It will enable students to build a deeper affinity with the University, TuksSport and related campaigns by being the physical embodiment of concepts and values that are sometimes tricky to articulate.”
The mascot’s predecessor, Oom Gert, played an interesting role in the UP community many years ago, particularly in residence traditions. Oom Gert is a tall brown statue inspired by Oom Paul, a figure that stood outside a tobacco shop in Pretorius Street. From 1932 to 1950, residences at the University would raid other residences in order to steal Oom Gert. “The new mascot earned their stripes from Oom Gert and has the important responsibility of carrying on the legacy of the Tukkie spirit into a new age,” Van Dou said.
Unlike Oom Gert, the new mascot will not be subject to residence raids but rather be more like a campus influencer. “Masey will make appearances at UP events, sports fixtures as well as across the social calendar of the UP community.”
Students, staff and the UP community are encouraged to suggest new names for Masey and stand a chance of winning an Instax Mini 11 Polaroid camera.
To enter the competition, head to UP and TuksSport’s official social media platforms.