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Double-3 for cool Unisa at the Gen Next Awards

Winners celebrating at last year's Gen Next Awards. This year, the awards were presented in a digital session.

Unisa has been named South Africa’s third-coolest university at the 16th annual 2020 Sunday Times Gen Next Awards, receiving the honour for the third consecutive year. The awards were presented at a digital event on 21 August where winners across 71 categories were announced. The awards are based on the outcome of a survey conducted by the HDI Youth Consultancy, and the survey is published in partnership with marketing company Yellowwood.

Since 2018, Unisa has placed third in the category of coolest university. Before then the category combined universities and colleges, and Unisa placed between fourth and sixth between 2014 and 2016.

The results of the survey led by the HDI Youth Consultancy are relevant to brands and advertisers. Over 5 500 youths aged 8 to 23 and young professionals aged 24 to 30 participated in the survey. This year’s survey focused on the themes of tribes (those consumers united by a common interest), tensions (in society) and trends (that influence consumer mind-sets) – a fitting theme for an unprecedented year.

It comes as no surprise that the 2020 results were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which changed youth preferences and attitudes towards brands. Bonolo Molale, Youth Portfolio Manager at Yellowwood, confirmed that the Gen Next research study reaches youth across South Africa. “Surveys are conducted at schools among kids and teens, and an online survey is completed by young adults at tertiary institutions. The study comprises of three phases that, when combined, allow one to better understand the youth and their interactions with the brands. The phases start with shortlisting for polling, quantitative sizing and lastly qualitative probing.”

Other universities named in SA’s top five are the University of Cape Town (first), University of Johannesburg (second), University of the Witwatersrand (fourth) and University of KwaZulu-Natal (fifth).

*By Lesego Ravhudzulo, Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2020/08/27