Pretoria is one of the most dangerous cities in South Africa, but also one of the most fun! With hundreds of nightlife hotspots surrounding the campus, it is the perfect city to live out your socialite dreams. You simply cannot say that you went to Tuks if you have not been to the infamous Strip, or if you have never sat outside Varsity Bakery at 01:00.

The moment the sun sets, the streets transform into a utopia of lights and music, and places that seem unassuming during the day turn into thrilling social hubs. It is truly an exciting phase every student should experience, but what happens when the utopia suddenly turns into a nightmare? 

The clubs and pubs close to campus have come under fire multiple times in the past. Violent activities such as stabbings, shootings and sexual misconduct are only some of the hair-raising incidents that have taken place at these establishments. In May 2022, a young man was murdered at a well-known club less than a kilometre from campus, causing serious concern for the safety and well-being of the university’s students. 

The reports of date-rape drugs and spikings within these clubs are also never-ending and people often get told to rather order unopened drinks to prevent this from taking place. It has become the norm to expect danger, so waking up the next day unscathed is, unfortunately, often a pleasant surprise.

This all sounds scary and dangerous, but there are various ways you can ensure your safety during a night out. PDBY compiled a few tips you can follow to be a SAFE socialite:

  1. S – Send your location 

It is important that people know where you are heading during the night. The App Store is filled with apps that can allow others to track your phone: Life360, Find My iPhone and Find My Phone are just a few. You can even send a live location on Whatsapp. This will allow your friends or family to notice if you are in a place you normally would not be in. These apps have reached headlines for saving lives hundreds of times and are even effective once the device has been switched off, so  make sure you send your location to multiple people at the start of the evening. 

P.S. The apps also come in handy if you have misplaced your phone.

  1. A – Assess your environment

The streets of our city are without a doubt an incredibly dangerous place to be. Do not be afraid to stand your ground and refuse to go to a place you know may not be safe. If you find yourself in a dangerous environment, stay vigilant. Assess the room you are in, and make sure you know where the exits are or where the nearest safe building is. It can be easy to be persuaded to go somewhere you are unsure about, but always remember that you are allowed to say “no”. 

It is also important to be aware of what you consume and to assess the way you receive your drinks. If you did not see the drink being made in front of you, you are allowed to refuse it. If someone buys you a drink, you are allowed to say “no”. It is better to buy unopened drinks such as ciders or beers. Never leave your drink unattended, even for just a moment. It is terribly easy for someone to drop something into it. 

  1. F – Follow your friends 

It can be so easy to get lost during a night out, especially because clubs are big, dark and loud. Most people get targeted when they are alone; thus, before the evening starts, make an agreement with your friends to stick together. Always try to travel in groups, whether you are walking or taking an Uber. Furthermore, do a roll call every hour to make sure no one has gotten lost or is in danger. Multiple studies have shown that criminals or sex-offenders are more hesitant to target a group of people than someone who is alone. 

The group you go out with is extremely important. A true friend will make sure you are safe. If you ever feel unsure about the people you are with, do not be afraid to return home or refuse to go somewhere with them. 

  1. E – Emergency numbers

Never hesitate to call an emergency service if you feel unsafe. It is always better to prevent something from happening, rather than being stuck in a dangerous situation. PDBY recommends that you store the following emergency numbers on your speed dial: 

  • (012) 366 1700 – Hatfield Campus Brooklyn Police Station
  • (012) 420 2310/2760 – University of Pretoria Safety and Security
  • 10177 – Ambulance and Fire
  • 0800 061 012 – Hatfield CID 24-hour Emergency Number 
  • (012) 422 3600 – Groenkloof Campus Sunnyside SAPS
  • (012) 353 4223 – Medical Campus Pretoria Central SAPS 
  • (012) 353 5666/5600 – Onderstepoort Pretoria North SAPS
  • (012) 385 1101 –  Kalafong Campus Atteridgeville SAPS 
  • (012) 815 7079 – Mamelodi Campus Mamelodi East SAPS 

Going out in Pretoria can be loads of fun if you do it responsibly. Do not be afraid to meet new people and do new things, but always stay vigilant. Safe socialising, fellow socialites!

Kyra Erwee
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