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ballito matric rage labelled a super-spreader event

In South Africa, there is an annual tradition in December to blow off steam after the end of the matric exams known as matric rage, with the Ballito festival in KZN being one of the largest of these events. Whilst the event organisers have state that attendance was low this year and that precautions were taken to ensure compliance with health and safety requirements, the event still had thousands of attendees and has been labelled a super-spreader event for COVID-19 infections.

Reportedly, at least four staff members have tested positive, and there is ongoing reporting about the number of students from across South Africa who are infected or are being tested. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has urged attendees to get tested and self-isolate. Some of the other planned events have been cancelled or may be cancelled after these reports came.

The rise in daily infections seem to reflect a sharp rise in complacency and in mask/health protocol fatigue, and there is a growing threat of a second wave of COVID-19 and potential hard lockdown.

The long-term effects of this virus, including to young people like these matriculants, are also still not fully known, with ongoing reporting revealing newfound potential harm that could be suffered.

With the promise of several effective vaccinations on the horizon, which shall still take time to be administered, the question remains whether we cannot exercise a little more patience for a little longer for the safety of all, no matter their age and even if it is the festive season.

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Author – Murray Taylor

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