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After matric, Rage Rage against the dying night…

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GILLIAN KLAWANSKY

This massively popular post-matric music festival phenomenon was founded by two young Jewish guys 18 years ago. It has become increasingly popular over the years. Now a big business, also attracting international visitors, Rage prides itself on its hi-tech organisation, safety and security and massive musical acts and parties.

“It’s a celebration and coming of age for many students who have gone through school and are about to enter a new life,” says Plett Rage spokesperson Ronen Klugman. This year, Plett Rage is hosting up to 7 000 students, while KZN Rage in Durban, Umhlanga and Ballito, has between 12 000 and 15 000. Generally, Johannesburg matriculants go to KZN and Cape Town matriculants go to Plett.

“It’s become an expected rite of passage for all matrics,” says King David High School Linksfield Principal Lorraine Srage. “While some choose not to, the majority of our kids go.” Srage says that the school has no official stance on the festival. “We have no jurisdiction over our learners once they finish matric. Having heard a show about Rage on the radio, I think it’s evolved and become a safer place than it used to be. It’s a big party and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

Herzlia High School Principal Marc Falconer, whose own daughter is currently on Rage, agrees. “It does mark a break between school and the rest of their lives and I suppose in some ways it’s appropriate, provided it’s done responsibly and thoughtfully.

“A lot of our kids do go and it’s a concern in that it very often can be excessive. Having said that though, one would hope that by the time they get to that age and are taking up their roles as responsible adults, you’ve prepared them well enough to look after themselves and to look after each other.”

Most of the parents, whose children are currently at Rage, agree. “It’s something all the kids do, it’s like having a barmi or a bati,” jokes Karen Moyal whose son in currently on Rage KZN.

“Seriously though, it’s definitely better them being on something that’s organised like Rage than making their own way. It’s great that as part of Rage KZN, Red Frogs, a group of moms who live in Durban, are there if anything’s wrong – the kids save their number and if they need them for any support they call.”

While there’s undoubtedly drinking and a very strictly enforced 18 age limit, drugs are strictly prohibited at Rage. “They control them quite strictly; last year my friend’s son went and had cramps so there was Buscopan in his pocket and they wouldn’t let him in to a party with it because they said it was drugs,” says another mom. “They don’t let them get away with too much.”

“You’ve got to trust your child,” says another mom. “It’s all about the relationship you have with them. You can’t stop it, they’re going to party anyway. We were all kids once, we can’t expect our children not to do what we did! It’s a very stressful year and this is their release.”

“It’s a great thing to end the matric year with,” says Bronwyn Kinross, whose daughter Gabi is currently at Rage. “She’s a responsible kid and I think that it’s very well-organised.” For her daughter Gabi, it’s about making memories with her friends, who may not be here next year. “It’s nice to spend the last bit of time together in a different place to do different things. We feel 100 per cent safe. There’s nothing to be worried about, everything is organised, down to the last detail.”

Also currently on Rage, Carly Soicher says: “It’s been such a stressful year and to be able to relax by the sea, partying with your mates has been great. We’d been planning it from the beginning of the year, and I think Rage kept a lot of us going! Meeting people from different schools and sharing our different backgrounds has also taught me a lot.”

“I wanted to get away with my mates and be free to do what we want and have a jol,” says a male King David Linksfield learner. “You always have people who don’t know how to behave, but if you take care of yourself then it’s fine.”

“I think it’s part of the process of letting go and letting the kids grow up,” says mother Daryn-Lee Cronsen. “I think my daughter’s mature enough to deal with the whole experience Obviously one worries about what’s not in her control, but we have an agreement that she stays in contact daily. Rage is incredibly well organised, I’ve been very impressed.”

Daughter Ciara Cronsen says: “I think it’s hyped up to be this crazy, partying mess but actually the days are chilled and at night it’s so much fun to go out and be with your friends.”

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