Cape Town - As one of South Africa’s biggest youth festivals got off to a busy start in Plettenberg Bay on Friday, it was clear the annual Plett Rage has become more than just a party.
An estimated 9 000 school leavers from across the country arrived in the coastal resort for the official opening of the 10-day festival, and to enjoy the sunny weather that moved through Plett by on Friday afternoon.
Organisers are expecting more than 15 000 to attend the festival over the period, which ends on December 5.
While organisers ensure a stellar programme on the entertainment and activity front, the past four years have also seen the event make efforts to “plough back into the community”.
Dubbed the Rage 4 Good campaign, the official socio-economic initiative of the Plett Rage focuses on uplifting the town’s youth.
“It also seeks to inculcate a sense of social responsibility in the youth attending Plett Rage,” said Nicola Probyn of Firecracker, the initiative’s marketing agency.
Probyn said the festival owners had approached Firecracker to develop the programme as they felt the event created an excellent opportunity to “give back to the local community”. “They felt something should be done out of respect for the community, and to engage Ragers in social upliftment initiatives.”
Each year they gauged the community’s needs before deciding on any Rage 4 Good projects.
As part of this year’s activities, festival owners had invited matric candidates from the town’s underprivileged communities to the opening night of the festival at VIP Super Club last night, free of charge.
“They wanted to do this as they wanted local students to feel included in the celebrations that happen in their backyard.”
About 90 matric candidates from the Plettenberg Bay Secondary School were given tickets to attend the opening, and 16 festival week passes were given to pupils who had achieved or worked hard through the year.
Another 60 former pupils from Murray High School were also given tickets to the opening, while 10 received a week pass.
This included transport and food vouchers.
Rage 4 Good will also be hosting an art project which is set to create awareness of climate change and environmental sustainability.
Two 2.5m metal structures, resembling feet, have been built, and Ragers will be able to decorate them using recycled material to symbolise their carbon footprint.
It will be constructed on Central Beach on Saturday and Sunday. “The sculptures will then be donated to the Plett Secondary School to decorate their school grounds and to leave a legacy of Plett Rage 2015.”
On Friday, Plett 4 Good hosted a Christmas party at the Masizame child and youth centre for 160 children. Each child received a party box with food and a small toy.
“We will also be donating a mini-library to their resource centre and training for teachers on how to use the resource,” said Probyn.
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