ASSITEJ SA acknowledges tavern ruling

Pen(t)s Down Haha!

The value of the arts to society is far greater than just entertainment.

On 4 July 2022, ASSITEJ SA issued a statement and called for strategic partnerships following an incident where 21 minors died at Enyobeni Tavern, Scenery Park, East London.

Since then, Assitej SA has involved itself in several artistic endeavours to raise awareness around the dangers of underage drinking. These include the production by Lalu Mokuku for Rhodes University, called Pen(t)s Down Haha! which performed on our platforms at the National Arts Festival and Cradle of Creativity. In addition, we have worked with and Grounded Media to take a production called “Smashed” to schools in Gauteng, KZN and Eastern Cape, reaching 10 654 students in these provinces.

We have now learned about the legal process that took place, which resulted in the owners of the tavern being found guilty of selling drinks to minors. While the ruling is welcome, we note the complexity that accompanies the case and that the ruling (and resultant sentences) is only one important aspect towards finding a solution to the great challenge of underage drinking.

We are hopeful that the ruling will deter others from similar forms of exploitation of youth in vulnerable communities.

Once again, we call on partnerships to overcome this challenge. This includes the local government and related authorities to apply greater vigilance over taverns located near schools and youth centres. We also invite all those working with young people to strategise around how to ensure that young people are engaged with activities that provide stimulation and a sense of purpose, and that they understand fully the dangers of alcohol for their development, their physical and mental well-being.

Yvette Hardie
082 859 5635