Red Frogs out in force to watch over the matrics

2012-12-03 00:00

ANXIETY, school rivalry and depression are some of the issues at an event where thousands of matrics who have just finished their exams are seeking to party up a storm.

The Matric Rage festival at beaches in Durban, Ballito and Umhlanga runs all this week.

On hand to help out are the Red Frog volunteers, members of a non-profit organisation that aims to keep kids safe during parties.

The Red Frogs were started in Australia in 1997, gaining popularity on the party scene. Some young South Africans living in Australia at the time adopted the principles of the organisation and applied them locally in 2005.

The group receives sponsorship, including from Ballito BP, McCarthy Toyota and Sasko, while the volunteers pay their own way.

Co-ordinator Jess Basson, co-founder of the South African Red Frogs, said students at parties like Matric Rage, OppiKoppi and university orientation can make life-altering decisions.

“This week has been quiet but we had four trips to the hospitals and worked with paramedics to address some injuries. One guy got cut in the face after a fight; another got cut with a glass bottle on his hand, while another one suffered an asthma attack. However, it’s only a few who cause trouble; the majority of them are well behaved and mellow,” she said.

In one of the more dramatic incidents, Red Frog volunteers helped a girl whose mother phoned to say she might try to kill herself. They went to her hotel and arranged for her to go back home to her family.

Basson said the Red Frogs are expecting a busy week ahead as more matrics are expected.

Last year, there were some incidents of violence caused not by matrics but by university students who return to the festival year after year, said Basson. In one incident, a matriculant was attacked by older men and had to have reconstructive surgery on his face.

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