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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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