Editor’s update: The organisers of the Rage Festivals confirmed to Times Live on Monday afternoon that all further festivals have been postponed until further notice.
The world is battling the coronavirus pandemic, but it seems that those organising and attending the various matric rage festivals around the country have forgotten that it exists.
Head over to the official website of the Rage Festival organisers, and not one word about the pandemic is mentioned on their home page!
Just two out of the four events have a clearly visible Covid policy on their individual websites in the top menu, and none of the marketing material on the sites show revellers practising social distancing or Covid-19 protocols.
While the individual organisers of the four events have promoted some Covid-19 practises on their social media, and issued calls to ‘Ragers’ to be responsible – can that kind of decision really be left up to teenagers?
Leaving responsibility in the hands of matriculants?
“Whilst we will go to extraordinary measures to adapt the nature of the festival and ensure your safety, you need to respect us, your friends and fellow attendees and do your bit. Read the rules, FAQ’s and recommendations,” says a statement on the Joburg Rage site.
“Come with a great attitude, ready to comply and play your part to ensure we have a smooth, safe and extremely low risk experience for all. We will have an absolute zero tolerance approach to anyone who compromises the safety of another person as we always have.”
Rages classified as super-spreader events
It took an urgent announcement from the government this weekend to bring attention to the fact that mass gatherings of matriculants are “super-spreader events”. And this was only after a number of cases were identified following the Durban Rage event.
This weekend, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize issued an urgent announcement classifying the events as super-spreaders. He also noted that “a few private hospitals in Durban now have full ICUs.”
One wonders: What planet have the parents, students and organisers been living on for the last year?
Masks seem to be a complete mystery. Not one advert on the websites features images of people practising proper social distancing or Covid-19 preventative measures.
ALL attendees of Ballito event are now regarded as ‘a contact’
“We confirm that we have now identified a number of COVID-19 confirmed cases arising from these super-spreader events. This therefore means that if you attended any of these Rage events, you are now regarded as a contact,” said Mkhize.
“We now urge all the Rage attendees to immediately go into a 10-day quarantine period as per the Department of Health Guidelines on Quarantine and Isolation. We also urge that all Rage attendants test for COVID-19.”
“We also encourage parents to take their children who have attended Rage for testing as soon as possible.”
Call for parents to step in
Where are the parents and guardians of these teens? Are they not worried about their health and safety, and the safety of the family members the teens will return home to after the event?
Why does the government need to become a ‘nanny state’ in order for people to behave appropriately?
Mkhize’s statement called on parents to step in and set boundaries for their teens. “Whilst government makes an effort to contain this virus, we now plead with all parents to also exercise their parental prerogative and set boundaries on activities that their children (specifically the youth) can participate in.
We wish to make an urgent announcement to all parents and learners regarding a super- spreader event that has been identified. pic.twitter.com/YMcnPA3QYx
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) December 6, 2020
Statement from Ballito Rage
Organisers of the Ballito Rage Festival issued a statement on their Facebook page saying that their Covid-19 plan was submitted to the local health department and the Durban Events Department prior to the event.
“We had to comply with more than 20 additional regulations in order to obtain approval which was obtained.”
Organisers also listed the extensive protocols which were put in place.
The problem is, a number of the protocols rely on teenagers, referred to as “Ragers” to make responsible choices. Is it really logical to think that each and every one of them would have maintained social distancing on a dance floor, and worn a mask throughout the event?!
Yes there were ‘protocols’ in place. But the question remains – should the events have been allowed to happen at all?!
Plett Rage stops taking bookings
The Plett Rage organisers posted an update on their Facebook page on Sunday to say that they would not be taking any more ticket sales for the event.
“At this stage, the outcome of the event is unknown, and we will be making further announcements in the coming days.”
“Thanks for your support thus far and for your understanding during this time while we assess the situation and take guidance from officials.”
As of 7 December, Joburg Rage has not issued a statement on their social media. Jbay Rage has also not issued a statement about whether or not the event would go ahead following the government’s classification of the events as ‘super-spreaders’.