A creative medical student is using his talent for composing catchy rap songs to encourage people to get the covid-19 vaccine. 

A University of Pretoria (UP) fifth-year medical student has partnered with the dean of the faculty of health sciences to create a rap song about covid-19 vaccinations.  

 Rostum Ogbuehi, known by his rap name “Ross the Boss”, is a student and rapper who was noticed by the health sciences faculty for the edutainment opportunity. 

 “It was via the social media crew of the faculty, Louis Cloete Productions, that the dean [Professor Tiaan de Jager] approached me and decided it would be the best to compose a song and a video,” Ogbuehi told Wits Vuvuzela. 

 Covid-19 vaccines are now available for all adults over 18, the song is an effort to appeal to young people with any doubts or hesitancy where vaccines are concerned.  

“We have seen a low uptake in individuals getting vaccinated,” says de Jager. “This is rather concerning, as we know that COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of more individuals contracting the virus and can furthermore reduce the risk of spreading it.”  

 “This project is a great encouragement for adults to go and get the vaccine. It can also assist them [young adults] to influence their family members to get the vaccine, more especially in the rural areas.” says Catlin Johnstone, who is a doctor and an intern at Baragwanath Hospital. 

Ogbuehi says music is universal and a message delivered through it may be more effective and relatable.  “I saw this as a good initiative, [as] music is universal…  You can convey a message with a melody and grab the attention of the listener who is willing to give it a chance,” says Ogbuehi. 

The lyrics were sourced from information provided by Professor Veronica Ueckermann, UP’s acting head of the department of infectious diseases.  

The music video was filmed on UP’s Prinshof Campus, at the Basic Medical Sciences building in the Tswelopele lecture theatre complex. The beat of the song, which Oghuehi found on YouTube, is inspired by internationally acclaimed rap artist, Drake.  

 “I was infatuated by the beat. I therefore asked my brother, Comrade Junior, to remake it with slight alterations to make it unique,” says Oghuehi  

Oghuehi says that he has received positive reviews and feedback on social media as well as on campus. “I have people usually coming to me on campus saying that the song has influenced them to go and get vaccinated or go and get their 2nd jab.”  

 “I am very proud of Rostum who agreed to compose this unique rap song, and to contribute to the national and international drive to get people vaccinated,” says de Jager  

 The music video has been viewed over 25 000 times across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. 

FEATURED IMAGE: picture of Rostum Ogbuehi. Photo: Ofentse Magudulela