Sports fields help combat underage drinkingNovember 30th, 2011 by Susan Reynard | Categories: beverages, government, products, social
The South African Breweries Limited (SAB) has partnered with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation to establish two sports fields in the province to help encourage youth development and combat the challenge of underage drinking.
The first sports field are located at Tobi Sports Field, Umbumbulu in the south of Durban. A second field in Ngome, Greytown will be launched in early January 2012.
SAB believes that youth development is best encouraged by addressing some of the social issues which hamper this. The sporting facilities are a first step towards achieving this objective.
“The youth are key to our nation’s prosperity and longevity and have always played an important role in South African history by driving positive change. To maintain this strength, the present generation needs to protect and develop the youth and help them become the country’s future leaders,” says Dr Vincent Maphai, SAB’s executive director of corporate affairs and transformation.
“The prevalence of underage drinking in South Africa is one of the social issues preventing our youth from achieving their full potential.
“We are proud of the products that we produce and strongly believe that these should be consumed responsibly by adults. The high level of alcohol abuse amongst South Africa’s youth is a great concern for us as a leading producer and distributor of alcoholic beverages,” notes Dr Maphai.
Combating underage drinking falls within SAB’s programme of tackling alcohol abuse in South Africa. Other key focus areas are drinking and driving, foetal alcohol syndrome. Studies have indicated that between 50% and 70% of learners are experimenting with alcohol and one third of learners are binge drinkers.
According to these studies, key contributory factors to underage drinking include:
- Alcohol acting as a diversion from teen boredom;
- Youth find an escape in it from domestic problems, poverty and abuse;
- It is a statement of independence and lowers inhibitions;
- Lack of parental guidance and structure; and
- Emulating the irresponsible drinking habits of some adults.
SAB believes that it is not sufficient just to highlight the problem and educate on the consequences of underage drinking. The company’s approach is to find and implement workable solutions to the problem.
Organised sport has been identified as a key step towards addressing underage drinking. It can have a significant positive impact, empowering them, increasing their self-esteem and feelings of belonging and providing positive role models.
In South Africa, there are limited sporting facilities available to children, especially in rural areas. SAB has taken the opportunity to provide structured, long lasting artificial football turfs constructed in areas identified as hotspots for youth crime and underage drinking. Identified areas are also close to schools to ensure majority youth participation in organised sport.
“Through this approach, we hope to make a real and positive difference in the lives of our youth. SAB is taking up a leadership role in protecting them from real risks and dangers to their development,” says Dr Maphai.
Seen in the images above are: the unveiling of the plaque commemorating the first of two sports fields in KZN in a joint effort between the South African Breweries with (from left): MEC for Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo; MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation Ntomibikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha; and Dr Vincent Maphai, SAB’s executive director of corporate affairs and transformation.
Also pictured above are the SAB soccer team lining up to test the new sports field, the first of two fields to be launched by the SAB and the Department of Health; and MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, leads the aerobics event at the launch of the Tobi Sports Field in Umbumbulu.