ALL THE RAGE
It is many parents’ nightmare: when the kids finish matric exams and nag to go with their friends on a “matric vac” before their results come out. You’re probably familiar with this. Perhaps your children are there right now, enjoying the closing moments of their schooling, and celebrating the beginning of the rest of their lives (or making a glamorous start to unemployment).
Last weekend, Ballito and Umhlanga, north of Durban, bore witness to the matric rage phenomenon: a blowout for school leavers, which many will remember for the strength of their hangovers.
Around 15 000 ragers booked into hotels and burst out of them every day to party.
While the organisers are preoccupied with safety, there is a fair amount of drinking. And as many of these kids are yet to develop their sea legs (as it were), things can get tricky quickly.
THE POOL PARTY
The La Montagne hotel is swamped by youngsters delighting in the sun, rocking bikinis and sungas of all shapes, cuts and levels of daring.
A DJ booth is set up in the middle of a large pool and in the water kids are playing with inflatable beach balls and splashing each other playfully – and suggestively at times. Just outside the pool, but still in the vicinity, are most of the black sisters in attendance. That HTH can be treacherous to one’s weave or braids. Nonetheless, they are jamming to the fast-paced electronic dance music while a group of tough-looking boys do push ups on the lawn a short distance away. The dude who could do the most would win a bottle of the finest potency made this year. It’s about potency, so it doesn’t matter in what year it was made.
We overhear two well-built guys planning to approach two potency shot girls.
“Bro, I’m not entirely sure what we must say.” His wingman responds with a hiccup: “The words are far until they are close.”
The scenes are jovial at the pool party despite the poor music selection and the testosterone-filled duel for a beverage with a heinous taste.
A lifeguard walks around, more hostel master than party host, blowing his whistle whenever he notices something a little too risky happening. The pool party session begins to simmer down with the prospect of the Samsung Superclub happening that evening.
Pheromones are in the air.
One blonde says she’s having the time of her life. After telling this reporter of her preference for black guys, she says: “It is a shame that there aren’t so many here.”
THE RED FROGS
The Samsung Superclub is a venue built for the purpose of the Rage Festival and it is impressive as far as elaborate marquees go.
Before the teens can go in, they are searched for weapons and contraband (read drugs). Security does such a thorough job that they go through the contents of cigarette boxes.
After a vigorous pat down, the club emerges in the doorway, the entrance flanked by two towering inflatable, lit-up horses.
There are a few older people in the crowd, wearing strange shirts and caps. These are the Red Frogs, who ensure the kids have plenty of water to drink, and a chill area to regain their composure or to pass out for a while.
At the Sound Factory the next day, we were able to see this chill zone. It had beanbags placed around it and a funky light installation, and even those teens who weren’t the worse for wear were there, hanging.
There is another not-so-chill area, which is to the Red Frogs what an intensive care unit might be to a hospital. The extreme cases on the night are taken to this not-so-vibey tent. There is no music here, just a morbid energy as teens lie on the floor covered in blankets that would not look out of place in a prison.
Next to each of the passed-out figures is a group of their friends, huddled together with a combination of stressed and unimpressed looks on their faces. We are ushered out quickly.
Brett France, a coordinator for the Rage Festival and head of the Red Frogs, says they draw their volunteers from local churches.
“I’ve seen people just not looking after themselves, you know, not staying hydrated or perhaps having a few more than they’re used to. Other than that, we don’t usually see anything too bad happen,” he says.
Asked what the procedure is if something serious was to happen to a reveller at Rage, he says: “If we do have to make a hospital run, we’d ask the person to chat to their parents on their phone and
From left: Keshav Gounden (sleeping), Joshua Beere, Reece Pillay, Josh Munstermann and their friend James are spotted chilling on the lawn at night, engaging with Joshua as he hands out water and connects with the party-goers
GROUP MIND More than 15 000 youth from across South Africa and other parts of the world headed to Ballito and Umhlanga in KwaZuluNatal for the Rage Festival – eight days and seven nights of beach, sun, fun, parties, music and making new memoriesS:
A group of youngsters at the main stage alongside rapper Ricky Rick. Now in its 14th year, the Rage Festival is introducing several firsts for what is already one of the most innovative festivals of its kind in South Africa
GROOVE ON Samantha, Nicole, Karin and Zander are pictured enjoying the music next to the waterfall display at the Superclub in Ballito, north of Durban. About 15 000 out-oftown students flooded to Umhlanga and Ballito to party until December 8