The new 13 part reality TV show called Future Leaders, debuted on SABC 1 on Tuesday, 5 November, at 10pm and aims to deliver this message to an expanded national audience of millions of South Africans. This will continue in parallel with road shows that directly engage teenagers around the country.
The cutting edge reality TV Series presented by You Decide, features the lives of five ordinary teenagers from different walks of life in South Africa, who have previously experimented with alcohol. The teenagers' awareness of the devastation underage drinking has had in their communities inspires them to make a real difference and become role models for their peers.
The Future Leaders series follows their real life adventure as they bring to life their decision to stop drinking alcohol, turn their lives around and create practical sustainable projects that will curb underage drinking in their communities. Their desire to pursue their dreams with the help of parents, teachers, broader community members, relevant NGOs and government institutions, comes with many trials and tribulations, which holds valuable life lessons for them and the audience.
The five Future Leaders are Nkosana Banda from Gauteng, Thobile Phantshi from KwaZulu-Natal, Tayla Tomlinson from the Eastern Cape, Ndimphiwe Lwande from Mpumalanga and Chriszelda Booysen from the Free State. Like many other teenagers, they dream of futures as among others, pilots, dancers, actresses and lawyers.
Each of them is mentored and coached by a finalist of the highly successful and popular One Day Leader programme on SABC 1. The mentors are in turn guided about their responsibilities, by well known marketer, columnist and blogger, Khaya Dlanga. Throughout the series, the Future Leaders will have the opportunity to meet and be assisted by various celebrities and influential people who will be helping them with the skills required as they journey to become leaders in their respective communities.
SAB's Executive Director of Corporate Affairs and Transformation Vincent Maphai believes it is incumbent upon all stakeholders that share concerns about the unacceptable levels of underage drinking, to work together to eradicate this scourge. "We are committed to play our role as a responsible corporate citizen, as well as the largest liquor manufacturer in the country, to ensure we can minimise alcohol abuse harm, as children who drink liquor are not good for anybody. Quite the contrary, they threaten the future growth and development of our communities and our country," said Maphai.
He added that one of the key factors for success in fighting underage drinking was ensuring teenagers are encouraged and recognised for work that they do to improve the communities in which they live. "Teenagers that are supported, by informed teachers, parents, community members and their peers - are able to make more positive choices in their lives, not only around abstaining from alcohol, but also contributing positively to the betterment of others in their community," Maphai continued.
Research shows that teenagers who use alcohol are three times more likely to be involved in violent crimes. Statistics also indicate that 67% of teens who drink before the age of 15 will go on to use illegal drugs - they are 22 times more likely to use marijuana, and 50 times more likely to use cocaine.
The Executive Chairperson of the NYDA Yershen Pillay believes whilst the statistics may be alarming, teenagers may not be aware of the extent to which underage drinking places them in danger. "It's important to continue to discourage teenagers from drinking and abusing liquor as this puts their lives at risk. This could include engaging in unprotected sexual activities and in the process exposing themselves to the possibility of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, as well as potentially engaging in crime and violence," said Pillay.
Future Leaders Transmission times are Tuesdays at 10pm on SABC 1, with a repeat on Sundays at 12.30pm.BACKGROUND: The You Decide underage drinking programme encompasses a series of activities designed to demonstrate to teens that the choice they make now, can impact on their future prospects positively or negatively. The programme includes a series of school visits, which incorporate an interactive industrial theatre performance based on recognisable social settings for teenagers, on the consequences of underage drinking. It is left to teens now armed with knowledge on the negative consequences of underage drinking, as well as techniques to resist undue peer pressure, to decide for themselves.
Results of similar campaigns in Europe and America conducted by ICAP, the International Centre for Alcohol Policies, suggest that strategies focused on any one of the factors that might prove useful in curbing underage drinking are not nearly as effective as a combination strategy. Their analysis concludes that multiple interventions provide meaningful additional benefit over single ones.
FACTS & FIGURES
You Decide has helped generate an 8,3% (in relative terms) drop in teen drinking in communities touched
891 schools have been visited in five provinces by You Decide
489 146 learners have received the You Decide message face-to-face
The You Decide programme reaches teens and communities through taxi activations, murals, community workshops and many more touch points
The two main drivers of teen drinking are: 1. Social acceptance, 2. Escape from worries (home and personal)
In some provinces (like Gauteng*) 86% of teens as young as 14 are drinking
* YRU/UNISA Substance Abuse Survey, 2012