Booza TV: A sobering look into the dangerous drinking habits of Western Cape citizens.
Booza TV is an entertaining and provocative documentary mini-series consisting of six 24-minute episodes which challenges the perceptions that South Africans have about alcohol, alcohol abuse and what to do about it. South Africans are amongst the five top heaviest drinking nations in the world, with approximately 25-30% of drinkers consuming alcohol at risky levels. The Western Cape is the drinking capital of South Africa and a global leader in alcohol-related harms including violence, road deaths, HIV, TB and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. Despite this, many of us remain under the illusion that the way we drink alcohol is acceptable, normal and even desirable.
In addition to the relevance of alcohol to the Department of Health, multiple other departments are mandated to directly reduce violence, traffic injuries and/or the main risk factors for these outcomes, including reducing alcohol and other drug abuse. Indeed, reducing alcohol abuse is a core component of meeting the following Western Cape Government Strategic Objectives:
- Strategic Objective 3: Increasing access to safe and efficient transport.
- Strategic Objective 4: Increasing wellness.
- Strategic Objective 5: Increasing safety.
- Strategic Objective 8: Increasing social inclusion.
Through intimate and often outrageous footage of drinkers, barmen, policemen, experts, liquor sellers, musicians, local celebrities and activists, the Booza TV series provokes a range of questions about drinking. Why is South Africa a global leader in drinking? What do people believe about alcohol? Where do these beliefs come from and are they actually true? Why are drinkers in poor areas so often victims of violence while drinkers in wealthier areas are not? Should alcohol advertising be regulated? Should shebeens be illegal? What actually works to decrease alcohol abuse?
The tone and style of Booza TV is youthful, energetic and provocative, and the series makes use of creative graphics, editing techniques and music so that the audience will want to keep watching. Booza TV takes a daring look at drinking culture and the role of the various players to get drinkers thinking but also to stimulate and inform social action and dialogue by community and non-governmental organisations. Indeed, one of the central aims of Booza TV is to encourage a well-informed debate about alcohol abuse and what to do about it. Pilot screenings and testing of the series has shown the series to be effective in challenging the views, attitudes and opinions of viewers. The series was also found to be highly enjoyable by viewers with 70-95% describing the show as stimulating and entertaining. Almost all viewers reported the desire to watch forthcoming episodes of Booza TV.
Given that alcohol abuse is one the leading social issues threatening South Africans today and that Booza TV is proven to be effective in changing attitudes towards alcohol abuse and what should be done about it, there is every reason to watch. The time is ripe for those who are interested in growing the nation to play their part in achieving the vision of a society that treats alcohol more respectfully. We hope you will assist us in achieving this vision.