THE Matric party Picture; DOCTOR NGCOBO

KwaZulu-Natal - It’s that time of the year when thousands of teenagers from around the country flock to the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast for the annual 4U Rage Festival.

This year the Sunday Tribune attended the Litchi Party, and as first-time Ragers we were blown away by what we experienced.

Dubbed the biggest party of the year, this official curtain raiser to the two-week festival was held in the Spogweni Forest outside Ballito, with 3 000 revellers in attendance.

The relentless rain had turned the ground to mud, but that didn’t deter the matrics from giving it horns.

As honorary “kids” for the night, we set out to make the most of it. We arrived at 10pm and paid the R120 admission fee. The crowd was thinning a little – some had been partying since the gates opened at noon.

Traffic was congested and expensive cars lined the street. There was a huge security presence, but no one was asked to produce identification. It come as no shock, therefore, when 17-year-old Capetonian Clayton Peter asked us for a cigarette.

“It’s my first time at Rage and it’s truly amazing – the biggest party I have ever been to – but I am going home soon because if I stay here I am afraid I’ll be taken out in a paramedic’s van,” Clayton said.

We couldn’t help but laugh at one boy who shouted, “Dude, when my Mom’s maid sees my shoes she is going to freak”.

Skimpy outfits were de rigueur for girls, and guys showed off their abs by wandering around shirtless.

Peering into dark nooks in the trees was risky, as some couples could not keep their hands off each other – talk about raging hormones.

Many of the teens displayed self-destructive, careless attitudes, falling around and bumping into one another. “Oh no, I just hope you did not touch my ass, boy!” screamed a girl at the bar area, who was obviously worse for wear.

Three dance floors were entertained by both local and international DJs, including Claudia Lovisa of Ibiza and Psy Andy of Durban.

A food stand offered hot dogs and burgers, and the 30 bartenders at the lone bar were kept busy.

When we asked Justin, from Johannesburg, whether he was enjoying himself, his response was, “I’ve had 10 shots of straight vodka in the past hour so I am going to sit down for a few minutes and recharge”.

Conversation was impossible due to the music booming out of the speakers, so most communication took place via wiggling eyebrows and hand signals. By midnight we were frazzled, but most of the remaining revellers had no plans to call it a night, continuing to down drinks at a dizzying speed and dance non-stop.

The Red Frogs volunteers came to the rescue of two guys who had passed out on the dance floor, and paramedics treated two girls who had too much to drink.

The visible security measures ensured there were no major incidents, and by 2am the Ragers decided it was time to get out of the rain and head for, not bed, but the Ballito clubs.

We turned in, glad we only had to experience “our” matric Rage once. It was memorable, but there is a reason why most Ragers are about 18. After that no one has the stamina.

Sunday Tribune