‘I have just matriculated and I am 18 years old. I like socialising, going to clubs and wearing summer clothes. I would never classify myself as “boring” or “a buzzkill”. So why, some may ask, am I not packing my bags full of cheap alcohol and heading off to Matric Rage in Plett, Umhlanga or Ballito? After all, it is South Africa’s very own version of the USA’s Spring Break.
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‘The quick and easy answer is that not much about it appeals to me. This is, of course, just my opinion, my own reason for not attending Matric Rage, and is in no way intended to insult the event or the people who are going. With that being said, the next step is to explain myself.
‘The first part of my decision is a rather basic one: money. I’m from Cape Town, which makes Plett Rage my best point of reference, because this is where most people I know who are attending a Matric Rage are going. When I asked a close friend of mine why she is avoiding what Plett Rage’s website describes as “South Africa’s longest-lasting Matric party”, she told me that she was broke and it’s far too overpriced.
‘As a recently matriculated – now unemployed – young person, I just don’t have the funds to spend on days of nonstop partying. On an average night out in town, I use anything from R40 to R100, but Matric Rage is way over that. Either you buy a festival pass, or you pay per event, which ends up costing even more. For some people, the experience is worth the money, but I don’t think that I, personally, would enjoy myself enough to justify the costs.
‘A huge contributing factor as to why I don’t want to go is that hardly any of my friends are going. Their reason, in turn, is that their friends aren’t going, so it becomes a cycle. It’s sort of a reversed peer pressure – being persuaded into not doing something. Having survived high school with them, they are who I want to spend my holiday with, and they aren’t going to Plett.
‘Linked to this is the fact that most of the events happening at any Matric Rage, as far as I have heard, aren’t anything like what my friends and I attend in Cape Town. We usually go to live music or decade-themed events (like ’70s night). Maybe Plett Rage has that stuff, but I haven’t heard about it.
‘There are two things that aren’t concerns of mine, but should be mentioned because I’ve heard quite a few of my friends’ parents talk about it: sex and overuse of drugs or alcohol. While it has never worried me, I know the reason that a lot of people don’t go is because of the pretty scary combination of horny teens and intoxicants.
‘I’m sure most people going will be careful and considerate enough for this to not be a huge issue, and I think there is nothing wrong with experimentation, as long as it is consensual and doesn’t endanger anyone. The stereotypes about the attendees are definitely exaggerated.
‘While a justification for not going could be the hyped-up jock culture often associated with this whole event, I don’t think it is as bad as it sounds, and am sure that sporty stock characters make up a very small percentage of the people there (at least I hope so).
‘Another thing is that when I leave school, I want complete freedom. To me, it seems that Matric Rages are not this, but are more of an organised chaos. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as deaths (while they do happen) are way less likely owing to the security measures put in place.
‘Along with various wristbands, there are security guards, bouncers and – as is the case with a lot of clubs I don’t go to – a dress code (one that generally doesn’t let guys wear sandals). Of course, there is nothing wrong with clubs like this or the people who go there, and all of them having sandal-hating policies may have been an embellishment on my part.
‘I also know that measures like bouncers and security guards are completely necessary for things of this scale, but it just isn’t really my scene. Overall, I do think Matric Rage can be a fun experience, just not for me. I hope everyone who is going has an absolutely amazing time. (I’ll probably be at home watching movies in my pyjamas.)’