On a mis­sion to curb youth al­co­hol abuse


Lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion Danonetix im­ple­mented an Anti-Al­co­hol Abuse Cam­paign (AAAC) across the prov­ince that is in its third month run­ning, targeting the four uni­ver­si­ties in the prov­ince, Rhodes, Fort Hare, Wal­ter Sisulu and Nel­son Man­dela.

Award-win­ning actor Chu­mani Pan is the cam­paign am­bas­sador, with the East­ern Cape Liquor Board act­ing as the fun­ders.

The cam­paign hopes to shed light on the dan­gers and haz­ardous ef­fects of al­co­hol abuse on the minds and be­havioural pat­terns of young people.

Pan’s role within the cam­paign is to as­sist in mak­ing the mes­sage res­onate with the young people that it is ul­ti­mately aim­ing to sup­port.

“Not only is this a great ini­tia­tive, but it also speaks to my own per­sonal aims of up­lift­ing the youth.

“I hope that my in­volve­ment fur­ther sup­ports this cause as I be­lieve that it is one of ex­treme im­por­tance.”

East­ern Cape Liquor Board of­fi­cial Mg­webi Msiya said there was a se­ri­ous prob­lem in the prov­ince of young people be­com­ing heav­ily de­pen­dant on al­co­hol.

“It is even sad­der when these youths are still stu­dents. That is why it is im­per­a­tive that we do as much as we can to try and as­sist young people in over­com­ing this par­tic­u­lar chal­lenge,” he said.

Dan­tonetix di­rec­tor Khanyi Ncana said she felt the cam­paign was a cru­cial step in en­sur­ing that the so­ci­ety pro­duced a well-rounded youth.

“Part of our role within the cam­paign is to arm young aca­demics with crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion that will as­sist them in mak­ing bet­ter in­formed choices the next time they wish to en­ter­tain them­selves with al­co­holic bev­er­ages.

“This in turn will as­sist us in lim­it­ing the amount of young people that find their lives forever changed through con­se­quences that have arisen from the abuse of al­co­hol.

“The cam­paign is al­ready in full swing and is sched­uled to con­tinue for a min­i­mum of three years. It is our col­lec­tive hope as an en­tire com­mu­nity that the mes­sage car­ried by this cam­paign makes the ma­jor dif­fer­ence that it seeks to.” Most of us have heard the well-founded advice, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” – a pow­er­ful con­cept which can pre­vent hastily formed opin­ions and flawed mis­per­cep­tions that come all too eas­ily to many of us.

The old man sit­ting in the cor­ner of a bar will cer­tainly have a story to tell of ex­pe­ri­ences and ob­sta­cles en­coun­tered, of suc­cesses and fail­ures, fam­ily be­reave­ments and other chal­lenges of life.

Is it for oth­ers to judge his ap­pear­ance and cho­sen lo­ca­tion to while away his ebbing years and en­gage with mem­o­ries that could en­lighten the ob­server?

The unso­cia­ble and un­co­op­er­a­tive old lady in a re­tire­ment home may have been dealt cards in life that were trau­matic way beyond the range of ex­pe­ri­ences that have char­ac­terised our life jour­neys.

Do many of us too eas­ily judge her with­out the per­spec­tive of in­sight into her defin­ing chal­lenges and de­bil­i­tat­ing ob­sta­cles? The beg­gar on the street cor­ner or ply­ing his trade at the traf­fic lights – do we have even the vaguest idea of the cir­cum­stances that have put him in that sur­vival strug­gle?

Ev­ery per­son has a story to tell of life-af­fect­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and piv­otal events that have de­fined who and where they are. Most don’t know of or un­der­stand these be­cause they have not trav­elled the unique path which is pe­cu­liar to each one of us.

On an­other level, it can be ar­gued that an un­healthy pro­por­tion of us are prone to judg­ing the ap­peal of the op­po­site sex on looks and ap­pear­ance, rather than on per­son­al­ity, val­ues and char­ac­ter traits that are more likely to fa­cil­i­tate happy and suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ships.

Maybe we are prone to mak­ing these judg­ments that have not been in­formed by “the book”. It seems sad that the hu­man con­di­tion, en­cap­su­lat­ing our abun­dant flaws, too read­ily re­lies only on “the cover”.

“Do not judge by ap­pear­ances, but judge with right judge­ment” John 7:24

There seems to be a com­pelling need for much greater lev­els of em­pa­thy and un­der­stand­ing as we in­ter­act with oth­ers on our jour­neys through life.


MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE: Anti-al­co­hol abuse am­bas­sador Chu­mani Pan, cen­tre, with Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity stu­dents dur­ing the Anti-Al­co­hol Abuse Cam­paign

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