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Google on Friday sported an interesting new “doodle” on its South African web presence to celebrate the kick-off of the Fifa World Cup. What made the doodle even more special is that it was created by a 13-year old.
Nikisha Lalloo from Port Elizabeth was crowned the national winner of the Doodle 4 Google ‘Love Football’ competition. Nikisha is now one step closer to being a global winner, emerging as the top young South African artist to enter the competition.
Nikisha’s logo design was displayed on the Google South Africa homepage on Friday. In addition to her doodle being seen by millions of people, Nikisha also receives a laptop and a framed copy of her winning doodle.
Nikisha beat off strong competition from some 400 other entrants from around the country who designed a Google Doodle around the theme ‘Love Football’. Entrants also provided a supporting statement explaining their design choice. A panel of judges and Google South Africa selected a shortlist of ten doodles, and then teamed up with Sunday Times ReadRight to get the public to vote online or by SMS for their favourite Doodle.
The panel included award-winning cartoon artist Zapiro, former Pop Idols Africa presenter, Lebogang Mzwimbi, Director General of Education Duncan Hindle and Sandra Fivaz, Editor of Sunday Times Read Right. Nikishha’s Doodle was accompanied by her statement: “I love football, especially the unusual actions, e.g., the bicycle kick, which, when performed successfully is absolute poetry in motion. The skills, dexterity and bravery involved is second to none.”
On hearing that she had won, Nikisha said: “I am so excited that I have won this year’s competition and I can’t believe that my design is going to be on the Google South Africa homepage for millions of people to see. All my friends and family are so happy that I have done so well and I’m excited that my doodle will be among those competing globally. The bonus is that it is a football Doodle and the World Cup is presently in South Africa.”
The customisation of the Google logo started in 1999 by Google Webmaster Dennis Hwang, whose work is seen by millions every time he and his team exhibits on the Google homepage. The 29-year-old calls these drawings “doodles”. The Google Doodlers have celebrated and marked worldwide events, anniversaries and holidays with doodles that incorporate the Google logo.
Julie Taylor, Communications Manager for Google South Africa, commented: “The standard of entries in the Doodle 4 Google competition was outstanding; there’s clearly a huge amount of pride and excitement in the air among young South Africans, given all the soccer fever. The competition has revealed a great wealth of talent overall, and Nikisha’s doodle in particular shows wonderful artistic ability and creativity. Next we have to get the South African public to rally for South Africa and vote for Nikisha in the global competition!”