Friday, May 05, 2006

Drinking culture

I saw this story on the BBC website and it brought some very interesting points to mind. First things first, we all know that Kenyans love to drink.Drinking has always been a part of Kenyan culture with the traditional brews and all.But the way people used alcohol then and now have really changed.
Way back when drinking was not partaken in daily and was a thing the men did after a long day or during celebrations. I am sure many of us had those batiks and paintings of a gathering of old men all sipping from a large pot with long straws.
Anyway let me leave history to the professionals because I know someone may come and set me straight in a rush.
I remember when I was a kid whenever there was a bash the older folks once in a while would give me like half a glass of beer or a tot of liqour to taste. Of course as a kid I was more attuned to sugar so I would drink it and go running off to find me some fanta (as Nick is still doing) or some sweets. Of course coming into teenage experimentation was a must. Me and my pals worked our fledling lock picking skills on many different liqour cabinets.I can remember the countless packs of Orbit used to obscure the smell of alcohol on our breath. Then of course we discovered mini packs!So once in a while when we had some cash we would buy some and share. All the flashbacks aside is that we never overdid the drinking thing but with the way the drinking culture has changed things are so different.
Even when we used to hold bashes in high school and uni we did not have the "black out culture."I have met younger folk who feel they have not had a night out on the town until they have drank till they blacked out.And the sad thing is that this nowadays applies to both gals and guys!The worst thing is that this culture contributes to irresponsible sexual behaviour,loutish acts,drunk driving and people becoming alcoholics.It also doesnt help that at the moment life seems so hopeless for young folk in Kenya.
I had pals back home whom the highlight of their week was catching pints with the boys over the weekend.I know people in my old neighbourhood who were those guys of "jobless corner," those peeps who bum, have mingi storo and look forward to catching pints over the weekend and would also drink cheap liqour during the week as they chewed veve (khat).They were doing this when I started going to uni and four years when I graduated they were still at it and as I am doing my Master's they are still in service.
I think it is a sad state of affairs but in the case of youth in Kenya I think it is more of a symptom as oppossed to a sickness.If they youth have little to aspire to, it will only follow that they will find a way to forget the hopeless life they are living.As for Kenyans out here I don't know what to say as I have met Kenyans out here who drink like we are in the prohibition!Anyway that is my feeble attempt at public awareness.Now to finish of this heiniken!


Stunuh Jay said...


Stunuh Jay said...

Drinking's great getting drunk is so not cool. Can't stand people who can't hold their liquor!(or beer for that matter)

Keguro said...

You read my mind. I was going to post about drinking.

I am mostly teetotal (big surprise). I really don't like the taste of alcohol, nor its effects.

What's your sense of drinking culture in Kenya and in America?

Keguro said...

One quick note: Kihumbu Thairu wrote about Kenya's drinking problem in 1975. The "problem" is not new.

Family and friends were binge drinking in the early to mid 80s. Kenya has a massive alcohol problem, only we call it "fun," "cool," and "grown up."

acolyte said...

@ stunuh
Congrats!Well doesnt the fact that you can hold your liqour apart from meaning you are responsible mean that you are a hard core drinker?
@ Keguro
Well you can go ahead and post as there is no way my post is half as succinct as what you are going to write.I think in some ways the increased drinking among the youth is equal parts an expression of frustration and another part image/culture.There was a time in the past when it wasnt cool for gals to drink as much as they do now?But now gender doesnt constrain drinking habits.
So I think our binge drinking problem has now become trans generational.Everyone is in it now from the kids,parents to grand kids.

Kelitu said...

Gone are the days of drinking polite polite in a bash/klub.
I think most young people everywhere believe that the party doesn't begin until you are as high as a kite. Hence the binge drinking.

When i was in campus we had this rule: Drink till you blackout or the sun comes up...And death was not an option.

The Devious One said...

What befuddles me with raias is they drink like alcohol is being outlawed and banished from Planet Earth the next day !

Then, ( this applies to dudes ) they brag about how they got sooooo drunk, like it's an accomplishment that deserves a pat on the back or a trophy !

Everything, when taken in moderation is not bad.

Now with my two cents out, Im off to damage my liver - again !!

Stunuh Jay said...

I don't think so, it means knowing when enough is enough. If you can't handle your liqour or wine, stick to the Appletizer, and figure out how to drive any car.

Kenyangal said...

Over here instead of saying we're going out tonight they are like "We are going to get TRASHED!!!" and they do.. then the next day at work they have compe's over who looks most hungover, who managed to show up for work on time e.t.c and brag to anyone that can listen about how pissed they were last night... even guests do this and seeing a drunk out of his mind guy is ugly enough but seeing very pissed chicks is just sad!! coz they are wobbling in high heels (or barefoot with shoes hanging from wherever) boobs flopping out of flimsy tops, handbag forgotten in taxi, mascara dripping down chicks and hair looking like an 80's nightmare arrrrrrggggghh get a grip

Chatterly said...

I have a buddy who was an alcoholic. She is young and bright but the bottle was her best buddy.She used to drink like hakuna kesho...and that everyday...akiishiwa anakunywa on credo :-(
She stopped, I am proud of her :-)Hope she doesn't fall back that way coz she has a chali who drinks like a fish....and they are always fighting...shetani ashindwe
I just thank God that I don't swallow like that.

nick said...

did someone say FANTA(darting head back and forth.....)

acolyte said...

@ kelitu
I recall that we had the same rule when I was in uni.Let's just say when one of my pals became a stickler for it, he ended up in rehab!
@ the devious one
That reminds me of the "I was so drunk that" story constests!
@ stunuh
I get your point now!
@ kenyangal
I hear that UK peeps are on a level of their own when it comes to binge drinking and even the mamas aren't left behind!
@ chatterly
I give a big kudos to your pal but I think having a boyfie who is a drinker will lead to her downfall if she isnt careful.

acolyte said...

@ nick
Ain't no fanta up in here son!Sorry!

AK said...

until kenyans will accept that there is a link between over-drinking and the rate of HIV infections, we are still going to be in the deep end!

the bragging bit is so tired! am yet to find an explanation for the drinking and bragging culture.

i don't think it is becos people have nothing to look forward to. they have families, some have jobs and other responsibilities. Isn't that enough to be sober about?

Girl next door said...

Alcohol is a big part of life with Kenyans! I think it's a great thing but it can be hard to keep under control. But it has a lot of benefits otherwise why do we keep drinking?

acolyte said...

@ AK
You would be surprised at how unable people are too making the connection between overdrinking and stds.
Well I think with dudes the more you can drink, the more macho you are!
@ girl next door
Yes alcohol is a great social lubricant!But only when used in moderation and not in the binge drinking manner we are used to nowadays!

Anonymous said...

ahhhh....alcohol, the cause of and solution to all of my problems.

but there is always yes-I-cannabis

Acolyte said...

@ Anon
Yes weed is the thang! No hangover at all!