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Voices

Raging against Rage 2021

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The “good book” is quite specific. It tells us that we need to circumcise our sons, teach our children Torah, make sure that they understand what marriage entails, to earn a living, and we need to teach our children to swim. What it doesn’t tell us, but probably should, is that we should also do what we can to prevent our children from going to the December Rage festival. No matter what it takes.

Although I was somewhat gobsmacked to read that the Plett Rage festival is back on, as a supporter of the free market, I understand that it’s their choice to offer willing participants to, well, participate.

That said, just because they “build it” doesn’t mean that we need to send our children. And I would go so far as to say that parents who do might consider if the whole parenting thing is for them. After all, as easy as it is to acquiesce, it most definitely isn’t the responsible thing to do.

According to the organisers, “We will be adhering to all governmental restrictions. Your safety is our number-one concern.” Which is nice. But most likely untrue. I’m certain that there are many concerns that they have had before safety even comes into it. And if I was cynical, I might even suggest a rewording so that it now reads that “the perception of your safety is our number-one concern”.

Most of us would prefer to forget what happened last year when the KwaZulu-Natal Rage Festival went ahead. The impact on the country was staggering. So much so, that in the Communicable Diseases Communiqué, it even became a study. According to its research, “Of the 2 253 Rage attendees, 848 (37.6%) laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases were identified, of which 846 (99.8%) were revellers and two were crew (0.2%).”

According to the report, “The investigation revealed that two of the Rage attendees had positive SARS-CoV-2 results before Rage but still proceeded to attend the event. This indicates lack of discipline and irresponsible risk behaviour amongst revellers as there is little or no adherence to the recommended prevention measures.”

What followed the Rage Festival was a rapid spread of the Beta variant (thought to have evolved at that time) and a spike in infections that brought the country to a standstill. It had an impact on coastal towns that rely on the December period, and cost the country billions in revenue.

Worse than that, it cost lives. Not of the revellers, but of those they brought it home to. The Jewish community was particularly hard hit. Families were impacted not only by illness, but were forced to quarantine, cancel holiday plans, and deal with the fall out.

I spoke to a number of parents who felt guilty, regretful, and embarrassed that they had allowed their children to attend in 2020. Most, given the chance, wouldn’t allow it to happen again. The difference between 2020 and 2021 is experience. Where last year there might have been doubt about the consequences, this year plausible deniability is no longer an option.

It isn’t always easy to be a parent. But your kids will thank you for it.

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