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Home-Made Alcoholic Concoctions Making Some South Africans Sick

Home-Made Alcoholic Concoctions Making Some South Africans Sick

A ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes during South Africa's national lockdown has resulted in dangerous home-made alcoholic brews which are causing some South Africans to fall sick.

South Africa continues with its near 2-month national lockdown as part of efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. While some of the restrictions of the initial level-5 lockdown have since been eased and the country has entered a level-4 lockdown, the ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol remains firmly in place. Naturally, the illegal sale of these items on the black market and at inflated prices is now thriving. Many South Africans have resorted to brewing their own alcohol at home which has unfortunately resulted in a surge of patients being treated for illnesses related to the alcoholic concoctions.


Home-brewed alcohol is nothing new. Traditional beer, often referred to as umqombothi (Xhosa translation), is a staple in many African cultures and has even been popularised in songs such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka's 1988 release "Umqombothi". However, those who have been dabbling in home-made brews don't necessarily have the know-how. Additionally, the use of non-traditional ingredients has resulted in many rushing to already over-burdened hospitals.

Speaking about the matter, spokesperson for Tembisa Hospital, Nothando Mdluli says, "We've had over 50 patients brought in for alcohol and cigarette experiment cases." Mdluli adds that, "Some had collapsed, while others were already vomiting when they arrived. This is dangerous if people aren't careful."

Earlier this month, a couple from the Northern Cape province died allegedly from alcohol poisoning that resulted from consuming their home-made alcoholic brew. The case is still being investigated by the police.

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Sudan Declares State of Emergency, As Military Dissolves Transitional Government

As the North African country edged closer to democracy, Sudan's military has seized power.

Sudan's military has seized power over the North African country, arresting multiple civilian leaders, including the current Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The power-sharing, unstable coalition, called the Sovereign Council, was created as a transitional government after the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019, in an attempt to move towards a democratic Sudan.

The Sudanese public has been split in recent weeks as groups protested for a military-run state, while others pushed for a civilian lead, democratic nation. Last week, the Prime Minister vocalized his plans towards a full transition to civilian rule, and his plans to have that body in place by November 17, echoing the voices of thousands of Sudanese demonstrators who showed up in hoards to demand that the promise of Sudan's pro-democracy movement be honored. But on Monday the PM and multiple government ministers and officials were placed under arrest, resulting in Sudan's top general's declaring State of Emergency.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in a televised statement, "To rectify the revolution's course, we have decided to declare a state of emergency nationwide… dissolve the transitional sovereign council, and dissolve the cabinet." His statement came as soldiers fired live rounds at anti-military protestors, outside of the army headquarters in the capital.

Internet services were cut across the country around dawn and the main roads and bridges into Khartoum shut, before soldiers stormed the headquarters of Sudan's state broadcaster in the capital's twin city of Omdurman, the ministry said. After months of rising tensions in the country, army and paramilitary troops have been deployed across the capital city, Khartoum, with the airports and internet access being shut down. As a result of the coup, hundreds of protestors have taken to the streets, demanding the return of a civilian ruled and the transitional government, the BBC reports.

Demonstrators have spread to a number of Sudanese cities including Atbara, Wad Madani, and Port Sudan, and more are expected to attend the call for action. "We will not leave the streets until the civilian government is back and the transition is back," protest attendee Sawsan Bashir told AFP. While demonstrator Haitham Mohamed says, "We are ready to give our lives for the democratic transition in Sudan."


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