Sunday, November 27, 2022

Homebrewed alcohol trademarks of most settlements

Malatswae is a small, isolated Basarwa settlement, situated on the outskirts of the Central District of Botswana.

It is located approximately 7km from Daewoo-Makoba cordon fence gate, which lies along the Serowe and Orapa highway.

Upon arrival at the settlement, you are welcomed by the sound of a ghetto blaster pumping some heavy kwasa kwasa songs, accompanied with an ambiance sound of a back-up generator in the background. If you follow the noise, it leads you to a beer yard, always fully patronized.
Malatswae residents love drinking alcohol.

Kgosi Fine Bosigo, the chief of Malatswae Village, says the biggest challenge he has is illicit alcohol abuse.

“There’s a lot of idleness in the Village, which leads to residents turning to alcohol as a way to kill time,” he said.

Home brewed alcoholic beverages are seasonally produced there.

“Lately, residents have been only drinking ginger beer, also known as tonki e tshetlha or tipi ya mokwatla,” says Oreemetse, a herd boy. “It’s brewed from yeast, water and sugar.”
Another brew, Khadi, is made from wild mogwana berries, brown sugar yeast and water.
According to Oreemetse it’s a widely preferred home brew in Malatswae.

“It’s brown in colour and smells sweet,” he said. “Khadi is only brewed with wild mogwana berries that become plentiful after the rainy season,” he added. ‘Skipa se ntekane’, ‘mokhangalaas’ or ‘mokoko o nchebile’ is another deadly home brew that is produced there. Gabantogele Baipidi, a brewer, says she uses yeast and sugar, but this time as it begins fermenting, she scoops the foam, which is formed on top, and is what eventually gets people drunk.

“It’s clear in colour, looks like water but definitely doesn’t taste like it,” she added.
Setopoti is made from watermelons. It is red in colour but nothing compared to wine.

“It’s brewed only when watermelons are in season and it’s very potent,” says Baipidi.

Phaletshe is home brewed alcohol made from sour milk, water, yeast, and maize meal. Food rations which are given to some of the residents are used as ingredients to brew most of these alcoholic beverages.

Shebeen queens wake up to squeaky-clean yards and prompt water deliveries.

Desperate drunkards do this kind of labour to get some free alcohol in return. Some go around collecting mayonnaise bottles, as they get handled just like returnable deposits.

Prices range from 50 thebe to P2 depending on the size of the mayonnaise bottle.

Barulaganye Inalame, a resident village dweller and shebeen owner, says her husband merely finds jobs working as a herd boy at the nearby cattle posts and ranches.

She says the money her husband earns is not enough to sustain her family of 12 so she has turned to brewing alcohol to earn money.

“I can make close to P200 a day,” she said. “I use the money to feed my children and take them to school, because my husband wastes all his money on young girls and alcohol every month end.”
Moaro Goitebetswe, the assistant court clerk at Malatswae kgotla, says that most of the time, cases which are reported to them are usually alcohol related.

“We investigate rape, defilement and domestic violence cases regularly.”

Mrs Ramasimong, the head teacher at Malatswae Primary School, says that in the past some of the pupils at the primary school wound up completing Standard 7 at the age of 16, due to the problems of illicit alcohol abuse in the village.

She says some irresponsible parents choose to neglect their children to go binge drinking, adding that domestic violence becomes highly inevitable.

“This forces some children to quit school. They drink illicit alcohol to drown their sorrows, as a cure for their misery,” she said. “However, the situation has improved since last year because we literally drag children to school, so they end up finishing primary school at the right age of 13.”

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