the sale of alcohol banned for more than seven weeks since the start of the
Covid-19 lockdown, the illegal booze trade has mushroomed and prices have
rocketed, GroundUp reported.
People who used to frequent
shebeens in the Southern Cape say syndicates have stepped in and are charging
exorbitant prices for conventional brands of alcohol.
In response, people have started
to brew their own liquor at home. Pineapples and apples are mostly used.
On the south coast, many people
are now making a living from it, brewing up 25-litre buckets of iqhilika in places such as
Nekkies in Knysna, Nonqaba in Mossel Bay, Nokuthula in Plettenberg Bay and
Lawaaikamp and Thembalethu near George.
The home-brewed alcohol sells for
about R10 a litre or R20 for a 2.5-litre bottle.
In contrast, Zola Xhinwa, of
Nokuthula, says a bottle of Smirnoff vodka is now going for R450 and beer
prices have doubled, even trebled.
“I have resorted to drinking
home-made booze because it’s much cheaper and affordable,” he says.
‘This township is dead without booze’
Pineapple alcohol is made with
sliced pineapple, lukewarm water, brown bread, oats, ginger, yeast and sugar.
Apple beer is a concoction of teabags, sugar, yeast and brown bread. The
ingredients are left to ferment overnight.
A popular drinking spot in
Nonqaba, which dates back to the 1950s, has become known for its cleanliness
and the pleasant taste of its pineapple brew.
“Lockdown has actually taken
us back to dark days [of apartheid], where people made alcohol from home and
sold to community members,” says the owner [name withheld].
“I make sure that l don’t
get in close contact with my customers. I wear gloves and mask and sell through
the burglar door.
“This township is dead
without booze. People are bored of sitting at home doing nothing. People don’t
sit here, they just buy and go drink in their homes,” she says.
Another seller in Nekkies,
Knysna, says at first she only brewed for her family, but everyone in the area
now wants her booze.
“People don’t have money to
buy expensive backdoor alcohol… We just pray that the government suspends the
lockdown so that people can return to their favourite booze.”
Thembalethu police spokesperson
Captain Dumile Gwavu says the selling and brewing of alcohol during the
national Covid-19 lockdown is a criminal offence.
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