How parents blow hard-earned cash on commercialised matric ball

With 75-minute make-up sessions costing up to R2 500, photography services at R1 000 an hour, decor and catering for the send-off party at home totalling thousands of rands, parents are spending a fortune on matric farewell parties.

This before the big-ticket items, such as dresses and suits which can cost betwee n R10 000 and R20 000, are taken into account.

It’s no wonder make-up artist Lezanne Adams loves this time of the year. She is fully booked until December as the 2023 matric dance season draws to a close.

“I charge up to R2 500 for a prom face beat,” she said.

“We are in the peak of the banquet season,” she said. “I have finished 14 consecutive days of matric face beat, which started in Secunda, Mpumalanga and ended off in Potchefstroom,” she said.

With an average of three appointments a day, and a waiting list to boot, Adams said she was fully booked for December 5-12 appointments at various schools.

Adams said her only gripe was that schools tended to host their matric dance at around the same time. “It limits makeup artists or any other service providers from reaching their optimum clientèle,” she said.

Designer Francine Bakena, who is based in Parkmore, Sandton, has parents who are not shy to spend more than R20 000 on a dress for a matric dance,
she said.

Daniella Mackay, who matriculated in 2018 spent R25 000 on a teal blue ball gown by designer Gert Johan Coetzee.

“It took me one month to plan everything,” she said. “I had fun in the process because of the support of my family and friends.”

And it is not only dresses that are burning a hole in parents’ pockets. Menswear designer Monsieur Adams is having a bumper season.

“I recently worked on a very lovely design with a special Korean/Japanese feel to the suit, with a lot of detail attached. This happened to be the most expensive design for 2023. It cost my client R12 000 to put their dream suit together,” said Adams.

Photographer Kenlin Sander son of Dinepe Photography not only gets to make money during matric dance season, which peaks in the spring and summer time, but also gets to see the lengths parents go in making the day special for their children.

Sanderson has seen it all, including homes transformed into wonderlands and others resembling a wedding reception.

Red carpets, welcome drinks, platters of finger food and music are a must before the grade 12 pupil steps into a luxury car and sets off to the matric dance venue. Some of the parties are by invitation only, said Sanderson.

“I arrived in one home and the entire set up looked like a wedding,” he said.

Jason Bantam said that the pressure to impress, brag and boast on the day is too much. The entire family is under pressure to make their dream send-off come through.

“At the time of my banquet, I did not want to go because my father was the only one working at the time,” Bantam said, thinking back of his matric year in the early 2000s.

“My parents pushed for me to go as they saw this as a milestone,” he said, adding that his aunts chipped in to make sure he had a great day.

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