Organisers are looking for a new, larger, venue so the show can go on.
Free pancakes, free water, coffee and a chill area were some of the things drunk students had to help sober up during O-week, courtesy of the “Red Frogs”.
The Red Frogs are a student organisation that aims to be a “positive presence” at Wits by providing support, such as food, to students who have been drinking on campus.
Their role on campus, especially during parties, is to build a safe and healthy relationship with party-goers.
“Our desire is to change partying culture from one of damage to young people to one of safety and genuine fun,” said Gauteng co-ordinator and Wits alumni Mick Channon.
Channon told Wits Vuvuzela that this year during O-Week they were “lucky enough” not to face any serious medical issues or problems during the campus parties.
“There was the usual dealings with crowds and many drunk people but that’s our bread and butter. We love to help people when they need it!”
“We’re also in constant contact with security and the paramedics to ensure the party is running safely and smoothly,” Channon said.
Volunteers are trained to give a “reasonable amount of care” at parties but they are never asked to assist anyone medically. They have to be 18 or over to join.
Safety for volunteers is also a major priority for the Red Frogs, so they are trained to be aware of situations which “may endanger them”.
According to Channon most volunteers are either Wits students or alumni. But they aren’t just working on Wits campus, they have also branched out to work at music festivals like Oppi Koppi and Rocking with the Daisies.
This year the Red Frogs will begin to host a number of social evenings on both Wits and University of Johannesburg campus residences to connect with the students and build awareness around responsible partying.
“We’ll off er free pancakes, board games and hot chocolate to give students an hour of free, safe fun in the evenings,” he said.
It is party season at Wits with res parties and the Engineer’s Breakfast still to hit campus. But with dangers of date rape, theft and drunken fights threatening festivities, Witsies have developed their own ways of safe-guarding their after-dark activities.
First year, BSc student Xiao Liang always makes sure to hold her drink in her hand at all times and when dancing, makes sure no one dumps anything inside.
Wandile Ngwenya, 2nd year BAccSci said “I’m holding a bottle and if I’m not looking I put my thumb over it.”
Melissa Kabanguka, 2nd year BA Psychology said it’s important to go out with friends you trust. “Don’t stay alone with someone you are not comfortable with”.
Witsies are encouraged to drink responsibility to avoid dangerous situations.
The West Campus postgraduate parking lot was transformed into the ultimate party venue on Friday night as the annual Fresher’s Bash took place under the auspices of the Wits SRC (Students’ Representative Council).
A massive stage, beer stand and food stalls greeted first years who arrived dressed for a night of celebration. The bash normally marks the end of the orientation period for new students as they head into the academic programme which starts on Monday.
The event was meant to kick off at 6pm, but this was delayed due to a few last minute hitches. One of the alcohol delivery vans only arrived at 7:30pm, leaving hordes of party-goers waiting outside the closed gates. However, as soon as the gates were opened they stormed the stage area and the delay was quickly forgotten.
A few of the local DJ acts that lit up the stage was AKA, DJ Doctor Malinga, Major League, DJ Naves, Euphonic, DJ Moflava and DJ SPHEctacular from MetroFM.
First years who attended the party seemed only had good things to say about it on Twitter. Innocentia Kgaphola (@Innokgaps) said, “AKA on stage killing the crowd!! #FreshersBash”
Porchia Wilson (@djpopzeecurlz) said, “#FreshersBash off the chains”.
The party went on well into the early hours of the morning with Wits buses circulating until 2.45 am.
Ever wondered how different a night’s partying would have turned out if you had just eaten something beforehand or perhaps just drank some water along with all the alcohol? Well thanks to the Red Frogs the wondering can become a lived reality.
Red Frogs South Africa is an organisation that provides a support network to young revellers at music festivals, Matric Rage and now at Wits Orientation Week. History honours student and Red Frogs Gauteng coordinator, Mick Channon said they essentially provide a party support network at the events they attend.
Channon said they provide a “positive presence” at events by making pancakes, handing out water and providing a chill out area which is a bit more relaxed than the rest of the party. “We want to get guys to eat while they drink and also keep guys hydrated,” added Channon.[pullquote]“Look we’re not running around smacking drinks out of people’s hands or anything”[/pullquote]
Unfortunately they can’t make any of their pancakes at Wits O Week because there will be other vendors on site but they do have over 2000 bottles of water and will be providing chill out zones at parties. These zones will have couches and games to keep party goers busy.
“Look we’re not running around smacking drinks out of people’s hands or anything,” joked Channon and went on to emphasise that they want to provide a positive presence in a social space.
Channon said he wasn’t particularly concerned about the overall safety of students because Wits does a great job at that already and students generally know how to handle themselves. “It’s not like Rage or Oppi where we literally save lives because people get alcohol poisoning and stuff,” explained Channon.
Wits O Week will be the Red Frogs’ first varsity experience in Gauteng. All one needs to do is look out for one of the 30 Red Frogs volunteers in a black and red t-shirt and they will assist where possible.
By Jay Caboz
To try and explain what took place on that small farm near Northam would be like trying to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity to a high school chemistry student. He might get the gist of it, but he will never truly know.
The first thing that needs to be said is that South African music is not merely on the right track, but is bundu-bashing an entirely new pathway, one that people from all over the world will be trekking down very soon.
We have immensely talented people in this country across an array of genres. From Tidal Waves’ reggae mellow vibes to Dan Patlansky’s monstrous electric blues guitar solos to Sibot’s mind-altering electro beats; we have all the bases covered with regards to musical talent.
The next thing and perhaps the element that elevates Oppi to something more than just a music festival is the love that was genuinely shared by everyone. There were smiles all around and the camaraderie in the air was a little more than heart-warming.
The booze and drugs certainly helped with the chemistry but who cares. Everyone was simply there to have a good time and what happened in the camping area and between acts was just as enjoyable as what happened while the musicians were rocking out.
There is so much more that could be spoken about in paragraphs that there is not enough space for here: the dust that got under everyone’s skin but didn’t seem to matter; the walking around aimlessly at night in a drunken state trying to find where your tent was; the bumping into random people and instantly becoming friends (Estelle from Pretoria you’re a goddess); the memories that were made and those that have to be made up, it was an absolutely wonderful experience and I loved it all.
For those of you reading this who were there, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who weren’t, do yourself a favour; there are few things that are guaranteed to change your life for the better and come August next year, you will have the opportunity to experience one of them all over again.