More than half of SA’s teens are regular users of alcohol. The You Decide programme is an initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and The South African Breweries Limited (SAB) – it is our hope that we can work and campaign together to expose and reduce the realities and the dangers of underage drinking which is so negatively affecting the youth of our communities. Underage drinking presents an enormous health issue in South Africa. Alcohol is the product that is most abused by teenagers and young people. There is growing evidence showing that alcohol can negatively affect the developing brain. Given how many young people use and abuse alcohol, the prevention and reduction of underage drinking must be a priority for everyone. The You Decide programme aimed to reduce alcohol consumption in teens and encourage youth to dream through roadshows & teacher visits, community workshops, and a narrative which encouraged youth to make the decision to get active and #DoStuffZA (such as exploring their passions and talents) instead of participating in underage drinking. Hulisani Ravele was selected as an ambassador for the programme and fulfilled duties of motivational talks at schools, carrying and engaging in the underage drinking conversation on social media platforms, as well as facilitating live chats via MXit where the conversation on alcohol abuse was opened up and teens were able to directly ask Hulisani for advice and she could offer support.


When I received a call from the You Decide team and they told me what the campaign was about I said ‘yes’ without hesitation. I was very honoured and excited to be the ambassador for a campaign that, one, focused on improving the lives of young people in South Africa and two, a campaign that not only talked the talk but also provided young people with actual tools to help them deal with the effects of underage drinking.

I believe programmes such as this are critical, especially with the frightening statistics around underage drinking. 1 in 2 teenagers in the average South African home uses alcohol regularly or sporadically. It’s important to make young people realise the impact the decisions they make today have on their tomorrow. My hope in being a part of this campaign was to bring widespread attention to the issue of underage drinking. I believe a lot of young people faced with this problem are afraid to speak up and afraid to say no to their friends for the fear of being a loser and an outcast. The hope was to also make parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and cousins realise that this issue is real, it’s rife and it affects them too. It’s important that we as a nation have honest conversations about underage drinking, its affects, and how we can help our youth make better decisions and learn to say ‘no’ to it.