We did it South Africa. We made it to level 3. As our lives slowly adjust to a new sense of normality, I am reminded of all the things I have taken for granted over the years. Apparently for many South Africans, that includes the liberty to go out and socialise with a loved one over a beer.
As I scanned through social media platforms on the 1st of June, I was encouraged by unbelievable scenes whereby thousands of South Africans respectfully and elatedly queued outside bottle stores – all of them ready to purchase their favourite beer after an unprecedented dry spell.
It would be remiss of me to pretend as though I was not exposed to the other side of this coin, one that showed a stark contrast to the scenes described above. Although the former was the predominant order of the day, there were a few cases of disorderly behaviour that epitomised everything we stand against at the South African Breweries. This happened despite all efforts taken by the traders and industry partners to ensure a smooth and orderly first day of trade.
To the irresponsible I say, we are better than that.
We can all agree that our country being dropped to alert level 3 was a welcomed reprieve. It meant that most South Africans could once again have an opportunity to participate in the economy and sustain their livelihoods, including ourselves. For our consumers, it meant that we could finally connect – albeit at a safe distance – over a beer.
The South African Breweries remains a quintessentially South African business with a South African heart. And although times may have changed, our purpose of bringing people together has not – as we stand together at a distance. As such we maintain that our beers are to be enjoyed moderately and responsibly and therefore we do not condone reckless behaviour of any kind, especially as we fight to contain the spread of this virus.
Responsible consumption is very important to us before, during and after the COVID-19 outbreak. As such, our entire organisation, along with every one of our brands will be focusing on conveying messages regarding responsible consumption and responsible trading across all of our channels and platforms during the month of June. Our message is one of responsibility, to ourselves and our fellow South Africans.
We are calling on you, South Africa, to heed the call and drink responsibly. Organisations like SAB can only do so much to encourage a spirit of participation. At the end of the day, it is up to each and every one of us to cultivate a responsible nation.
It wasn't long ago that the world looked to South Africa and praised us for how we navigated this pandemic. Even the WHO acknowledged that we were a shining example of how a lockdown was not only supposed to run, but how it was to be obeyed. For over 60 days, we put individual needs aside for the good of the collective.
We have the power to unify. We have the power to educate. And we certainly have the power to act responsibly. After watching posts go viral on social media, I noticed a trend that aligns with all media platforms - bad news travels fast, but good news takes the scenic route. As you scroll through your channels, consider the role you have to play in ensuring that you are sharing content that is true and useful for our society. It's too easy to gawk at bad behavior, but we have the power at our fingertips to drive positive behavioral change simply by sharing and affirming the right content.
We call on all South Africans to remind each other that we are better than this. We are imploring you, as South Africans to consider your choices. Instead of standing on the sidelines as an observer, take the opportunity to be the catalyst for change and model for good behavior in your circle. There is never a justifiable reason for anyone to be reckless and irresponsible when enjoying our beer. Much like the government has entrusted us with our liberties – alcohol in this case – we need to be responsible in how much we consume and the way we consume it.
Let us celebrate the beer that brings us together. Let us show the country, and the world what it means to enjoy our beer, moderately, responsibly, and safely. Let us be #ResponsibleTogether.