Why Africans Are Dying for a Drink: Problem of Homebrew

The high prices for for commercial produced and sometimes imported alcohol have driven many Africans to drink dangerous homebrew.  What is the solution?  Historian Justin Willis points out that cutting prices of commercial alcohol to make it very cheap would produce its own set of problems.  For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on May 13, 2010 at 07:37 PM in Africa, Alcohol (general) | Permalink

West Africa and the drug trade

Although Africa is neither a major producer or consumer of illicit drugs, weakly governed West African states have become important in the international drug trade.  For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on April 10, 2010 at 09:40 PM in Africa, Drugs (general) | Permalink

Dutch gin in West Africa (book review)

Insa Nolte, book review of Dmitri van den Bersselaar, The King of Drinks: Schapps Gin from Modernity to Tradition, in Social History of Alcohol and Drugs 23/2 (Spring 2009): 201-203.

Posted by David Fahey on August 25, 2009 at 06:21 PM in Africa, Book Reviews, Gin, Netherlands | Permalink

Chocolate at Principe (article)

Xan Rice, "Life, Liberty and Fine Chocolate: An Italian Entrepreneur Pursues Simple Perfection on a Tropical Isle," Utne Reader, May-June 2009, pp. 53-56.  Reprinted from New Statesman, January 15, 2009.  Discusses Claudio Corallo who has a cocoa plantation on Principe, the twin isle of Sao Tome.  Previously Corallo had grown coffee in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) and now grows coffee on Sao Tome.  He now is thinking of making rum too.

Posted by David Fahey on April 25, 2009 at 05:28 PM in Africa, Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Italy, Rum | Permalink

Gin in West Africa (book)

Dmitri van den Bersselaar, The King of Drinks: Schnapps Gin from Modernity to Tradition (Brill, 2007). Colonial and independent West Africa.


Chapter 1. Introduction: foreign imports, local meanings
Chapter 2. The Rise of Gin
Chapter 3. Becoming the King of Drinks
Chapter 4. ‘Bird gin’ and ‘money gin’: brands and marketing
Chapter 5. Poison or medicine? Changing perceptions of Dutch gin
Chapter 6. ‘Your very good health!’ Gin for an independent West Africa
Chapter 7. Schnapps gin from modernity to tradition
Chapter 8. Bibliography

Posted by David Fahey on April 26, 2008 at 04:14 PM in Africa, Gin | Permalink

Guinea-Bissau, world's first narco-state?

According to the (London) Guardian newspaper, the former Portuguese colony now known as Guinea-Bissau may be the first narco-state. With only 1.5 million people, few police, and no jails, it now shares its sovereign space with Colombian drug lords who send cocaine to Europe via the little West African country. For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on March 9, 2008 at 07:25 PM in Africa, Cocaine | Permalink

Are Amy Winehouse and other drug-taking celebrities making West Africa the "coke coast"?

The UN official in charge of drugs and crime, Antonio Maria Costa, blames celebrities who openly take drugs (in particular Amy Winehouse) for glamorizing cocaine and thus helping to turn West Africa's former "gold coast" into a "coke coast." Drugs from Latin America are smuggled to Europe via poorly policed West African countries. Costa draws a historical analogy: once Europe devastated West Africa with the slave trade and now it devastates West Africa with the drugs trade. For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on March 9, 2008 at 11:37 AM in Africa, Cocaine | Permalink

Alcohol ravages South Africa's children

The poverty-stricken South African town of De Aar has the unenviable distinction of the world's highest reported incidence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

Read more here.

Posted by Cynthia on September 24, 2007 at 11:37 PM in Africa, Alcoholism, South Africa | Permalink

Guinea-Bissau, allegedly Africa's first narco-state

According to the (London) Independent, 17 July 2007, drug gangs control Guinea-Bissau, a small West African state that formerly had been a Portuguese colony. For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on July 17, 2007 at 10:04 PM in Africa, Drugs (general), Guinea-Bissau | Permalink

Ohio school defends serving gin to students at elementary graduation

An Ohio charter school that emphasizes African history and culture served gin to elementary school students as part of what they said was a Ghanian right of passage, and state education officials said they plan to investigate.

The CBC reports.

Posted by Cynthia on June 10, 2007 at 01:15 PM in Africa, Ghana, Gin, United States | Permalink