Johannesburg, February 2, 2022 – Hight-profile soccer personalities gathered at the social-trendy Konka Lounge in Soweto today to launch a new initiative to reduce drinking and driving. Dubbed “Wrong Side of the Road” the initiative uses online interaction between consumers and prominent individuals to share real life experience of trouble that arise from driving under the influence of alcohol.
Developed in partnership with United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Wrong Side of the Road is financed by the SA’s leading drinks company, Diageo South Africa which owns several spirits brands including Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Ciroc, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan.
Amongst those present at Konka to launch and support the campaign were Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder, Teboho Mokoena and the clubs former captain Hlompho Kekana, former Chiefs and Pirates striker Phumlani Mkhize and Banyana Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis.
Former Kaiser Chiefs star, Junior Khanye, who is no stranger to finding himself on the Wrong Side of the Road, leads the platform with a series of videos that tells of his incident of drinking and driving. Khanye seemed destined to graduate to stardom but his promising career at one of the biggest teams in the country was side-tracked by off field distractions.
“I crashed into four cars. Two cars were beyond repair and two I had to repair. I lost a R2 million house I had at the time as well as the car. What is more sad are the injuries I caused on other people. One of the motorists involved in the accident was in a comma for three day and others badly injured. It is regrettable,” said Khanye.
Banyana’s Desiree Ellis who hails from Hanover Park in Cape Town said she has first-hand experience of witnessing consumption of alcohol and use of substances which has ravaged hers and other communities around the country.
“You see the law enforcement agencies pulling over cars with cooler bags loaded with nice cold liquids. It is a dangerous thing to do because you find that drivers are drinking, putting their lives and those of others at risk. We need to have a mind shift and change of attitudes and drive dry at all times,” said the Banyana coach.
It saddens newly signed Mamelodi Sundowns star Teboho Mokoena that in his 24 years of age, he has seen a long list of footballers he aspired to perish from car crashes. The former SuperSport United player who has represented South Africa in the under-17, under-20 and Olympic team has stayed on the right side of the road which has seen him graduate to a full international with Bafana Bafana.
“I am clear in my head that football is a very short career that can be cut short by injuries at any time. But it is a sad South African story that so many players have either seen their careers end too early or their lives cut short because of misusing alcohol,” said Mokoena.
Phumlani Mkhize hit the high notes for African Wanderers, Orlando Pirate and Chiefs, creating a comfortable life for himself and his family. But he says alcohol abuse saw it all go up in smoke, leading to him losing his house, cars and self-worth.
“It got to the point where I was ridiculed by members of my community because I had fallen from grace. I had no one but myself to blame because of the bad decisions I made. I would not like to see the current generation of footballers falling into the same trap,” said Mkhize.
Corporate Relations Director at Diageo SA, Sibani Mngadi said the company is deliberately taking the Wrong Side of the Road campaign to trendy alcohol outlets like Konka with an insight that the message will not only land well with the type of consumers at these outlets, but will vibrate wider through social media platforms.
“This initiative is a part of Diageo’s global effort to change the attitudes towards drinking and driving amongst at least five million people by 2030. As a global leading beverage alcohol company, it is our responsibility to create and implement prevention tools to help save lives working together with partners including liquor outlets,” said Mngadi.
Diageo has a long-standing commitment to promote responsible drinking through moderation and addressing the harmful use of alcohol. The company has a history of supporting global initiatives aimed at reducing traffic deaths and improving road safety.
The Wrong Side of the Road can be accessed at https://drinkdriving.drinkiq.com/. This is Diageo South Africa’s latest responsible drinking initiative and part of an evolving approach that promotes changes in attitudes as a way of tackling impaired driving and supports the company’s 10-year sustainability action plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress.