Remember how the discoteca just had to glue you to the dancefloor because DJ Thabo kept playing your favourite number – song after song – to keep you there until those bright lights of “shame” came on in the wee hours of the morning and you had to quickly make your way out of the club before that undesired outjie who had his eyes on you could recognise you since your chompoms and you jas-skeered his pockets empty after he bought you guys tons of drinks and braai meat all night? Or how you had to sneak into the house almost at the break of dawn and tip-toe in only to be met with a whipping sjambok behind the door? Your conscience kept fighting with you to stay at home because it was painful to get your behind whipped every time and the streets were just as dangerous but your stubborn self couldn’t keep away from the nightlife.
Fast-forward…you grew up and became the master of your destiny. You now had a job, your own kaya to go to whenever and with whomever you wanted, but instead, you now appreciate your me-alone-time, lounge all day and night on the sofa with fast-food and snacks and couldn’t be bothered about the next best nightspot. Is it not just unfair now that nobody restricts you from going out - unless you have one of those jealous mandalas who wouldn’t hesitate to turn you into mince-meat with a shiny panga, you have no time nor the energy for things of the night?
I am sure these past two months have been a déjà vu for many older folks seeing how the paraparas and gatas took over the jobs of our parents with curfews and restrictions that we reluctantly accept even though it is in our best interest. Nonetheless, our government deserves a big omake this far for putting every stop in place to keep us safe from this ravaging pandemic. Namibians also deserve a big Aweeh for keeping their cool most of the time, obeying the basics such as washing hands, keeping the one-metre distance, donning their masks and not showing up at other people’s cribs unannounced.
Everything has been under control this far. Records show that crime has plunged to a minimal and visits to hospitals and clinics because of violent assaults or illnesses caused by drinking toe-moer-toe have also dropped to an all-time low. People are finally buying food at home, children are well-fed and some folks have started spotting kapundas and their faces look brighter and healthier and wifeys are all too happy.
Rumours have been making the rounds that because of these positive societal trends, government might consider removing chwala from our shelves, kick Namibia Breweries and its Reinheits Gebot to the curb and push South African Breweries and its Hansa Pilsner back to Ramaphosa land. We will become like some Arab countries where it is illegal to consume alcohol. Those with kamstige ‘high moral standards’ have also chipped in with the usual alcohol must be entirely banned’ because it’s breaking the moral fabric of our society, supported by the born-again in full swing condemning any believer who drinks. Hmmm…just wondering who is the holier than thou.
While I agree with some moral sentiments, the drop in crime and the health advantage, I have mixed feelings about the idea of banning alcohol in its entirety because of the following reasons:
1) Economic impact – imagine how many people will lose jobs. The argument is that people must find alternative means of making money, but they can’t even point out what those alternatives are. Imagine how many people are employed at Namibia Breweries and the dividends that this entity pays to government every year.
2) People will find alternative and unsafe means to get drunk. Yes, it is not as if it is a secret that people have been finding unorthodox means to get intoxicated. I heard of people who were sent to the emergency room for drinking some unknown spirits or making ‘punch’ with unidentifiable ingredients.
3) Alcohol will become a luxury only for the rich and famous. A bottle of beer is now costing N$50 – don’t ask where I heard that – the whole Tura is talking how even ou Navara (Castello) has now become a luxurious drink with the price tag having reached a cool N$350 from N$80. I hear the rich and famous are not affected by the temporal ban on alcohol as they continue to enjoy their drinks in the luxury of their homes, unfazed by the thirst of their less advantaged cousins in the lokasie.
When adults are treated like children, they behave like children and hunt for the forbidden and restricted. I say it’s fine to pass moral judgment on the consumption of alcohol, but let it be the choice of an adult individual to decide how to drink responsibly, just as it is morally wrong to commit adultery, gossip, stab others in the back or turn friends into foes. Let’s agree that sale and consumption of alcohol need better government control, but to completely ban alcohol will be a menu for disaster.