Dear Matrics of 2016...

Anje Rautenbach has a thing or two to say to the class of 2016....

I trust that you all are over the moon that your 12 years of school is finally over. It must feel like an eternity.

I still remember the days when I had to endure the desks. Well, to be honest, I kind of remember. You see, as you pile on the decades the memory tends to get weaker.  Don’t worry you will have that honour too one day. It’s great actually, especially if you need an excuse. If you have a few grey hairs people are more likely to believe the phrase, “I forgot”.

Talk about forgetting. How’s your week going?  Are you guys forgetting anything? Still remember last week when you made national headlines?

I think it’s time to have a chat since all the madness is kind of over.

I’ve read some articles about your big party in Plettenberg Bay. I’m not sure if you can remember any of it but luckily there are a few videos circulating on YouTube to make the moment last forever.

Also, thank heavens the videos are on YouTube;  if you want to show your mother, father or grandparents the memories from your matric vacation, it’s all there. The naked truth volume 2016.

That’s lit.

I don’t know what to call you guys. You are 18-years-old; collectively as a group, are you teenagers, young adults or just children gone wild? See, I don’t know. Maybe I’m just old? Thanks to the age difference you can actually call me tannie. But what do we call you guys when one foot is still attached to the financial umbilical cord and the other foot is in Destination Freedom behaving in a way that may “upset sensitive viewers”.

That’s dope.

No, wait.

That’s lit.

No, wait, actually that’s totes inappropes. AF.

Seriously kids (I’ve decided “kids” will be the best collective name, because let’s face it, you’re still growing alongside your desire), what in the name of Decency were you thinking?

You’ve shocked an entire nation in a way Zuma can only dream of.

Let’s talk about the money first.

So you’ve paid R1 950 for your Freedom Pass, then you take between R3 000 and R5 000 as spending money, and I guess your accommodation is around R1 000 and then there is petrol money getting to and from Plettenberg Bay back to the financial umbilical cord.

There are probably some hidden costs too.

Or did you budget on buying protection?

It’s your money and I don’t care who paid for it; if you worked your butt off to attend Plett Rage, congratulations, if your parents made a deposit, awesome (please remember that I’m open to adult adoption) but I just want to ask whether or not you know that you spent around R6 000? Or maybe I should go back to school and get 20% for mathematics and count again.

R6 000 can fill a whole lot of gaps.

University fees. A down payment on a first car. A cool (is it still cool to say cool) road trip in South Africa with a group of friends. A solid portion of an overseas vacation. The start of an investment. Driving lessons and a driving test (because let’s face it, it’s expensive and only 3 out of 10 pass their driving test on the first try).

Geez, R3 000 can fill a whole lot of gaps.

Life is expensive and you are choosing – or actually society and your peers are choosing for you – to drink (and eventually pee) your (or your parents’) hard-earned money away.

Down- down, flush-flush, goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend.

Just take note: I am really open to adult adoption. I can cook, clean and look after myself but I won’t mind having a few extra thousands. Won’t mind at all. My phone number is the same as my bank account number. Deposits welcome.

I see the manager of Plett Rage said that they are not “running a missionary station” and that the festival is a “rite of passage to adulthood for matrics”.

Adulthood is a tricky term kids. You see, you get tricked into thinking that you are an adult because you can legally make decisions, purchase alcohol and obtain your license (only to say, “sê vir mamma ons het die kar gestamp”). But you are not an adult. Trust me. Not yet. You’ll get there. Acting responsible is usually a good road map to follow.

Please chillax kids; I’m not saying that you are not allowed to party up a storm and let loose. You deserve it but knowing where to draw the line is usually a good rule of thumb for letting loose. And from what we’ve seen *you are so far past the line that the line is a dot to you.

Grinding, touching, drinking, being disrespectful, passing out, some more grinding (or at least, that’s what we hope you did) and only taking responsibility in limiting your food intake to budget for your alcohol intake is not a way to convince thousands of people that you are a responsible adult, it is a one-way ticket to get many heads down in shame.

I’m not pointing fingers to your parents and how they raised you. Heaven knows; things parents say usually fall on deaf ears. But I am just thinking how a father would feel after seeing his daughter’s butt on a video while she is pressed up against someone else. I’m just thinking how would a mother, who did her best in teaching her son how to treat women, feel if she sees and hears that her son nods his head saying it’s okay, or a hobby, to go from one vry to the next. I’m just thinking what would future employers think when they see future employees’ acing the art of walking in straight line. I’m just thinking of the little sis or bro looking up to the girl who won a wet t-shirt competition by losing her shirt and baring it all.

Yo kids. What the actual hell?

And yo, Plett Rage manager, if this is part of the rite of passage then getting that missionary station up and running before Plett Rage 2017 might be a good idea. Ja, ja, this might not have happened at the official Plett Rage grounds but dude, this happened under the Plett Rage name.

I hear you kids all talk about Destination Freedom.

You do know that Destination Freedom will only be there for a few fleeting moments, right? You do know that when college or university or a new job or whatever starts you will basically be back at square one? The only thing that is really different if you compare your current reality to school is that you are at an age where you are legally allowed to do things, but now – drum roll – you just have more responsibilities.

We all experience Destination Freedom year after year. We just call it vacation or leave.

Your whole life will be school, over and over again. There will always be someone in charge of you – a parent, a teacher, a professor, a boss or a tax man.

It sucks, but it is life and you work your way around it to make it beautiful.

So kids, I hope your memory of Plett Rage is still intact. Maybe get tested. Opt for a detox. Celebrate your matric results responsibly. Grow up. And start being responsible adult. The world awaits and trust this old tannie, one day, not too far from now, you would think very fondly back to years you spent in school and say, “if only I knew…”.

(A message to the matrics of 2017: Maybe your first essay for the new year can be a thank you letter to the matrics of 2016 and how their behaviour has led to your parents saying that there is no way in hell that they would allow you to go to Plett Rage 2017 or anywhere without adult supervision).

Disclaimer: This is not a generalisation of all the matrics of 2016 or even of all the matrics who attended Plett Rage. We are all aware that a lot of you act responsibly, and I for one salute you.

*you are so far past the line that the line is a dot to you – this is a line from the popular sitcom, Friends, the first episode aired more than two decades ago.

Anje Rautenbach is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her Facebook,Twitter  or on Instagram!

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