As children base their lives on what they see on daily basis, alcohol adverts are no longer needed on television, because TV is a powerful channel of communication. Alcohol adverts are shown frequently on television when children are watching. It turns to be precarious as it negatively influences the young ones; they perceive alcohol as part of life because the manner in which it is advertised makes it to be regarded as something we cannot live without.

 

 The adverts are indirectly targeting young people who then want to experiment with alcohol. Parents and communities are complaining about teenage alcohol abuse, they are complaining about young ones drinking alcohol severely, because a child at an early age of probably 15 years is drinking alcohol like an adult who’s been consuming it for years. Alcohol advertisements should be prohibited with immediate effect and with no excuses because South African Breweries (SAB) will still make a lot of money regardless of prohibited alcohol adverts.

Four out 5 young people in South Africa under the age of 35 are 4 to 5 times likely to engage in hazardous alcohol, e.g. episodic and binge drinking. “We encourage and urge liquor retailers to comply with the code of practice endorsed by ARA. Responsible use of alcohol starts with responsible retailing – no alcohol must be sold to under 18s”, says Mr. Karabo Mkhabela, National Director for Action Society against Alcohol Abuse.

 

Something should be done to ensure that alcohol advertising is stopped as soon as possible. As someone who doesn’t even know the taste of alcohol I don’t think there is a need to always see alcohol on television every minute because it might be dangerous to me. The worse part of it is when their adverts are made to be funny and attractive than any other adverts; alcohol adverts are the ones that are more appealing to the young ones – this has to stop! There is nothing beneficial about alcohol consumption and something should be done about its promotion as it is not contributing positively to society.

The Action Society against Alcohol Abuse (ASAA) which is an implementing partner of the ARA says, “We had ongoing efforts to combat underage drinking and reduce alcohol related harm in our communities last year, and embarked on a 1000 km walk to collect signatures from youth and the public aimed at raising awareness around the anti-underage drinking programme. Our anti-underage walk together programme was led by Zippo and Hippo. The walk started in Midrand, Gauteng and traversed through the province of Limpopo, speaking to youth people on the harm caused by alcohol misuse, use and abuse”. This campaign is a direct response by ARA and ASAA to the alarming statistics of underage drinking and youth hazardous alcohol use. Zippo travelled through Mokopane, Marble Hall, Groblersdal, Seshego, Driekop, Lebowakgomo, Jane Furse and River Cross a village in Tububatse. This walk together with other programmes initiated by ARA and implemented by ASAA is a call to action to a key national question on the need for a proactive and targeted approach to alcohol harm reduction which is also being aggravated by alcohol adverts. And it also comes at a significant time in the history of the youth movement in South Africa, 40 years after the 1976 youth uprising.

 

By Tsadiba Seroka

 

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