Matrics tone down

2010-12-12 08:38

First there was the Facebook group, “Matric Holiday 2010”, which advertised for a party bus

that provided strippers for the guys and girls along with games, alcohol and a

wet T-shirt contest.

Then emerged pictures like the one on this page, of partying

matrics at a rage party at the Eighties Club in Durban last week.

The picture is an intimate glimpse into what South African teens

get up to during the two weeks of parties at coastal towns around the country –

but despite the sensational picture, matrics have been better behaved than in

previous years.

According to Jess Basson of Red Frogs, an organisation that offers

help and support to matrics during the holidays in Ballito and Umhlanga, the

class of 2010 has fared well.

He says under-18s who join their matric friends are often the biggest problem.

The Red Frogs were called out last week when a matric girl’s 16-year-old friend disappeared with a

19-year-old youth. They fetched her from the boy’s hotel room and brought her

back safely.

“Underage teenagers take part in the festivities, especially over

the weekends. It is definitely safer if it is just matrics, and the most serious

incidents occur when older university students join in,” says Basson.

“Not all teenagers get out of hand. The majority have fun and are

responsible.”

With the renewed commercialisation of the two-week matric festival about a decade ago, there was the fear

that it would turn ­into a sex, booze and drugs orgy similar to the infamous

Spring Break in California, in the US.

The official rage holiday of two weeks takes place in coastal towns

such as Ballito, Umhlanga, Margate, Hartenbos and Plettenberg Bay. It ended

yesterday.

Mike Silver, director of Stretch Experiential Marketing, says this

year was their biggest marketing project around the festival.

Silver believes the media focuses more on the negative aspects of

matric parties and that they are in fact a

positive expression of the youth’s new-found freedom.


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