Champions Youth Wellbeing on June 16th by combatting Underage Drinking

Amidst the echoes of bravery from 1976, today's challenge is clear: tackle underage drinking to secure our youth's futures. leads the charge, turning the page with Skeem Saam to rewrite the narrative on responsible choices.
play now Champions Youth Wellbeing on June 16th by combatting Underage Drinking

As South Africa commemorates Youth Day on June 16th, is taking this opportunity to address the critical issue of underage drinking. This day, which honours the bravery and sacrifice of the youth during the 1976 Soweto Uprising, serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by today's generation of young people. Among these are the root causes that contribute to underage drinking.

Research indicates that about 19.9% claim first drink by 13, highlighting that underage drinking is alarmingly prevalent in South Africa. Nearly 50% of high school learners have consumed alcohol. These figures underscore the urgency of tackling this issue through awareness, education and community engagement.

Through its "No to Under 18" flagship programme, is committed to educating the youth about the severe health and social risks of underage drinking. As health experts warn, negative consequences can include impaired brain development, a higher risk of addiction to alcohol and other substances, and increased susceptibility to other risky and harmful behaviours.

In a bold new initiative, is leveraging the popular youth television series, Skeem Saam, which airs on SABC 1, to amplify this crucial message. It is important to recognise that the attitudes and behaviours around underage drinking are not isolated to individual choices but are influenced by societal norms and pressures. Therefore, addressing this issue requires a collective effort from the entire community, including parents, educators, and policymakers. Through the storyline, characters face real-life decision-making scenarios, challenges, and the repercussions of underage drinking, providing viewers with powerful, relatable examples. By depicting these trials and tribulations, this initiative aims to spark meaningful conversations among peers and families about the importance of avoiding alcohol consumption before the age of 18, as well as to change risky attitudes and behaviours.

“By weaving our message into a popular television series like Skeem Saam, we can reach young people in a relatable and impactful way,” said Mokebe Thulo, Head of Brand for “We believe that this approach will not only raise awareness but also encourage crucial conversations about responsible behaviour between peers and within families.”

This initiative is part of’s mission to foster a culture of responsible drinking and to protect young people from the harms associated with alcohol.

“We believe that by integrating our message into platforms that resonate with the youth, we can make a significant impact on under-18s’ perceptions of harm and their agency to practice self-care by not drinking,” said Mokebe Thulo. “Youth Day is not only a time to reflect on past struggles but also to address present-day issues affecting our young people, and underage drinking is a critical one. If we act as the whole of society when it comes to underage drinking, the solution to this challenge to young people’s lives and futures is within our grasp.” urges parents, educators, and community leaders to engage with young people about the dangers of alcohol consumption. By fostering open dialogues and providing accurate information, we can collectively work towards reducing the prevalence of underage drinking.

“As we honour the spirit of Youth Day, let us also commit to safeguarding the health and futures of our young people, and giving them the opportunity to become makers of tomorrow,” concludes Thulo.


"As the nation reflects on the resilience of its youth this Youth Day, let us unite in safeguarding their futures. Through dialogue, education, and collective action, we can steer our young generation away from the pitfalls of underage drinking and towards a future filled with promise and opportunity."

Related News