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SA Learners Turn To Art And Music To Ward Off Devastating Consequences Of Underage Drinking

21 August 2012

20 August 2012 -  Earlier this year, The South African Breweries (SAB), in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and provincial Departments of Education  launched a comprehensive programme to tackle the problem of underage drinking in South Africa. Today, the first phase of the programme - which rolled-out in KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State - comes to an end, having reached an estimated 190 000 learners.

The multi-pronged programmed, called 'You Decide', was designed to demonstrate to teens that the choices they make now can impact on their futures positively or negatively. It included a series of roadshows, curriculum-aligned lessons for teachers, a practical guide for parents, resources for teens and an inter-school competition to consolidate and drive home the messaging. 

Today the campaign concludes its first phase with the announcement of the winners of the inter-school competition, which challenged learners in all participating provinces to find creative ways to demonstrate how underage drinking affects their lives and their communities. Learners were encouraged to write and perform poetry, create artwork, sing or rap, record videos or use photos to discover, and demonstrate to their friends, that no one can force them to drink and that the decisions, like the consequences, are their own.

A total of 1 856 entries were received and the top three winning entries as selected by the judges all receive their share of a R60,000 cash prize for their school.

During a ceremony today, first prize was awarded to learners from Fundokuhle High in Pietermaritzburg, who created a comic strip titled 'My life as a teenager'. "The story is about a very rich boy who finished high school and made his parents very proud," said Bheka Mokoena, one of the comic's creators. "But then he joined the wrong crowd when we went on to tertiary studies, and there were bad consequences thereafter."

Second place was taken by Ndengetho High School in Pinetown, where a group of learners created a song about the 'You Decide' programme which beautifully conveyed their thoughts on the important decisions the youth of South Africa faced, and how focusing on studies and not rushing into drinking was what would save their futures. 

A learner from Reunion Secondary School came in third place for a drawing reflecting the misuse of alcohol in his streets.

The winning entries along with a selection of the top 40 pieces were included in an exhibition which is visiting communities and shopping centres around the country in August.

"We are thrilled that the programme engaged the learners to the extent that it did," said Robyn Chalmers, SAB Head Media and Communications. "Based on the feedback we've received from teachers and the learners themselves, we believe that we have imparted the message of the seriously negative consequences of underage drinking to those that needed to hear it the most."

As one learner succinctly summed it up after finishing the programme, "You have the power to change the future, so use it wisely. It's your life, your future, so you decide."

For further information, please contact:

Robyn Chalmers
Head of Media and Communications, SAB
Tel: 011 881 8679


For the latest SAB news, follow us on:

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For further information on SAB's responsible drinking campaign, Reality Check:

Twitter: @RealityCheckSAB


Notes to editors

The underage programme forms part of SAB's wider strategy to tackle alcohol abuse, which includes targeted interventions such as Alcohol Evidence Centres, the Responsible Trader Programme, the Tavern Intervention Programme and initiatives to tackle Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Note, the news release was first published in its local market on 20/08/2012.




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