When the under 10s and over 40s are tucked up safely in bed, Cape Town’s Red Frog crew are in clublands or university residences helping party animals recover safely. They’re also out in force at South Africa’s West Coast music festival Rocking the Daisies and Plett Rage, the week-long shindig where many school leavers party without parental supervision for the first time in their lives (eek). The Frogs are organised by MATT ‘BUSHY’ ASH, 29, children’s leader from a Cape Town church. So what goes down?
Matt ‘Bushy’ Ash
‘We started up in Cape Town five years ago, aiming to be a positive presence in alcohol-fuelled environments. We’re called Red Frogs after the original Australian support system that started with volunteers handing out sweets called Red Frogs to partiers, and have taken on their model and infrastructure.
We organise ourselves into groups of four or five, and either make pancakes or walk around seeing where there’s a need. We meet incredible people and hear the most significant stories. We reunite friends who’ve got lost, help those being sick or make delicious cinnamon and sugar pancakes which can soak up quite a lot of alcohol! Sometimes we just provide company when fresh air is needed: meeting others and building relationships are priorities. We also distribute water or hot chocolate from our ‘hydration station’, creating the rather unusual sight of students crowding around a barrel of water late at night!
We’ve seen incredible growth and had almost ninety volunteers for Rocking The Daisies. It’s not only a need but a privilege to be a part of something that’s bigger than one’s self. Life is too short to live for something that won’t outlast it. It can get messy but I like mess. When mess is happening, stuff is happening!’