Half of South African Teens Are Underage Drinkers

By Valerie Tejeda 02/15/12

Concerned officials join forces with an alcohol manufacturer to try to dissuade South Africa's many drinking teens.

Half of South Africa's teens drink. Photo via

SA Breweries (SAB) is joining forces with the South African government and youth agencies to launch a program that discourages underage drinking. According to new stats, one in two teenagers drinks alcohol in the average South African home. "Half of teenagers consume alcohol in our country currently, and 50% of teenagers have admitted that at one point they were drunk," says SAB corporate affairs director Vincent Maphal. "We view this as unacceptable and so we have partnered with the government on a program that we believe will effect real change among South Africa's youth.” Maphal adds that research shows 60% of teens who drink alcohol don't perform well in school due to the fact that alcohol damages developing brains. The new program, called You Decide, discourages underage drinking through road shows, school visits, lesson plans for teachers, guides for parents and counseling resources for teens, as well as a Facebook page and an "advanced reality game" for up to 60 players.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.