South Africa’s nationwide ban on alcohol sales during the lockdown period has seen many people turning their homes into mini-breweries.
Although traditionally served at special ceremonies, where ancestral spirits are evoked such as funerals and weddings, traditional African beer has suddenly gained popularity.
We spoke to brewmasters Palesa Mohale and Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela on how people are now embracing traditional African beer more, and if it is something they see happening even after the ban of alcohol has been lifted.
Mohale said that as an African female brewer, it brings her joy to see that even in times of adversity, Africans are still in touch with their true identity and embrace their heritage.
“I am always happy to share the brewing process of umqombothi and to follow up with the progress. I believe that with the impact that the lockdown has left on the economy in the county, citizens will opt for cheaper alternatives to alcohol. Not only will this be for umqombothi but for homebrews such as pineapple brew, apple cider, and other alcoholic alternatives,” she said.
Nxusani said that one of the positive things to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic is seeing many young people showing interest in how African traditional beer is made and that the circumstance is unfortunate but she is grateful and it makes her feel quite happy.
“I think seeing people spending more time in their kitchens – cooking, baking, and making all kinds of beverages has been amazing. I do hope that it is something we will see continuing even after the lockdown. I think people have come to realize that it’s actually not that difficult to make and can be fun as well.,” she said.
By Lutho Pasiya