What an exciting time for the teenagers about to finish their final Matric exams, and all focus moves to the much-anticipated Matric Rage.

I recently asked my niece who has just turned 18, got her driver’s license and first car, and has two more exams left of her schooling career, how she was feeling about next week when she is officially finished with secondary school and heading off to Rage in Plett. Her response: “I am excited but nervous”.

I know exactly how she feels, I remember feeling the same way when heading off to Port Alfred for my Matric Rage some 20…damn 25 years ago. I felt like there was an expectation (not peer pressure, but rather personal pressure) of what I was going to ‘achieve / experience’ in my first unsupervised holiday as an adult, although I was only 17. I am sure my parents would not have approved, hence the plan to do it away from home ground. Although I have always put pressure on myself to achieve goals, luckily, I didn’t achieve these stupid (in retrospect) ones on this holiday. We rather had good clean fun captured on good old printed photographs (admittedly, not always that clean as the photo shows!).

As a mom, like I am sure most others, will wrestle with the idea of the Matric Rage. On one hand I want my children to experience moments like this with their friends, but on the other hand, I don’t want to send my children into a scenario where ‘anything goes’ without some sound advice, especially as the world has changed since my Rage.

What 18-year-old doesn’t want to be free from their parents; from RULES; from structure? For 18 years, you have been oppressed by these people that are constantly telling you what to do, where to go, what time to be home, and who you can be friends with. All under the pretences of ‘I’m doing this to protect you.’

I understand the need to let loose and get feel free from these feelings. BUT for 12 years, you have increased your knowledge, made friends, lost friends, become streetwise, learnt a lot about yourself and who you want to become.

Don’t let the experience of Rage take this away from you. Ok, ok, that’s the last ‘don’t’ you’ll hear from me!

As parents, we want you to go to Rage and have a blast. But here is my advice to you:

  • Go for it and have fun but be responsible doing it. Be mindful of getting too lost in the moments. There is a lot at stake – your future. If you’ve never had a drink before, just know that it will have an affect you!
  • Your independence will be put to the test, what will you do with that? What kind of a person are you when you are given all the freedom in the world?
  • Be mindful of being influenced negatively, and even influence others negatively. Everyone deserves to be respected. If they say no, respect them.
  • At the start of Rage, make a pact with your closest friends that you will look after each other no matter what! Set your own moral boundaries with them, and trust each other with these. Also, I’d advise setting social media boundaries – talk about the kinds of things you’ll allow to be posted online… social media screening for jobs is a real thing!
  • Think of the life you have planned post-school (travelling, further studying, getting a job, renting a house, etc), and let that fuel the decisions you make on Rage. If you are going to drink, go slowly. If you plan to have sex, make sure you use protection. And if you are going to do anything illegal, don’t get caught. (I strongly advise you to not do any of these, but promised I would not say DON’T again!). You want to make decisions that won’t throw your future out the window!

Rage is a celebration. A celebration of 12 years of studying, of working hard, and of celebrating an end of an era with your friends before you all go on your different journeys in the new year. The Rage Festival slogan is ‘Creating Memories that Last a Lifetime’. Go out and make memories, and come back ready to start your new and exciting journey as an adult!