Sibongile Mafu

Plett Rage: One party I’m glad I missed

2013-12-06 07:41

Sibongile Mafu

Ah, Plettenberg Bay. The small town that has perhaps seen more than any one town deserves to see during its existence.

Thousands of matriculates descended on the pretty Garden Route this week, to celebrate twelve years of schooling through a few days of questionable decision-making. They’re joined by DJ s who will be entertaining them over the week, as well as older people who just refuse to grow up and keep coming back for "one last hurrah".

The small town enjoys a boost in its local economy, with the sale of alcohol, condoms and morning after pills soaring, as teenagers drink and engage in protected and unprotected sex. What better way is there to celebrate a bright future ahead. It’s all very grand, but it all just never appealed to me seven years ago when I matriculated.

Ah, wet blanket I know. Let the kids have their fun. Which matriculant doesn’t want to dance the night away in a pool of their own insides, as well as other’s insides. More of that please. And many will say, you can’t comment, you don’t know what it’s like. But through thorough research, speaking to approximately two or three people who have gone, it really is one party I’m glad I missed.

And for those who have no idea how their final results are going to turn out, it’s a nice way to escape with your friends before the real world hits you between the eyes when the New Year rolls around.
Since the festival started, cashiers and pharmacists have seen the demand for condoms and morning after pills sky-rocket. Condoms I’m pleased about. I’m glad young people are protecting themselves, and respecting their sexual health. World Aids Day was just a week ago, and the message of “no new HIV infections” is an important one. About 600 condoms are sold each day during this Plett Rage period with many places having to restock daily to meet the demand. Well done, young people. Well done.

On the other side of that however, is the high demand for morning after pills. So many youngsters still engage in unprotected sex, many with very serious consequence. These teenagers are in a celebratory and festive mood, but a week of reckless abandon, has very real effects on the rest of your life. I know how drunk on happiness and pride you are when you finish walking the fire of your young school years. You feel almost superhuman. Nothing can touch you.

There was a very interesting (in some parts) discussion on Twitter a few days ago, where some older people said that young people, 90’s babies, they called them, are too eager to grow up, with many looking older than they are as they chase a lifestyle that is too mature for them.

They start drinking, binge-drinking too early, start having sex too early, and are burnt out by the time they’re 25. Harsh, considering young people have been doing this kind of thing for years, but what is worrying is the number that engage in unprotected sex. There are various reasons for this, and something like Plett Rage isn’t the whole story, but an opportunity to educate, even though school is out, does present itself here.

Very few people want to see Safe Sex anything when they’re partying and enjoying life, but the Education Department and health organisations could use Plett Rage to run very powerful campaigns around it, considering that it floats right around the time of World Aids Day.

Just a thought.

Well done matrics. Come back in one piece.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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