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A Cut From African Literature: the Importance of Traditional African Beer


John Moono

The post-colonial Africa grappled with a number of issues among them racism, literature itself, cultural identity and political views
The struggle for cultural identity that characterized the Post-colonial Africa gave rise to the misuse of a precious African cultural commodity. Colonialisation of Africa great impacted the Cultural orientation of future African generations and has resulted in failure to appreciate African cultural commodities.

The commodity in question is Traditional African Beer. Beer locally known as Ubwalwa in Bemba, Buukoko in Tonga, Bucwala in Lozi, Utshwala in Xulu, Umuqombothi in Ndebele, Pombe in Kiswahili and many other names in other local African languages.

Beer in the Traditional African society was never taken for leisure or luxury as it is in the contemporary modern African society. It was regarded as a precious traditional commodity worth of preserving for good Cultural purposes and occasions.

Beer was a used a medium for deciding cases in the African society. For one to make a fair and sound judgement when deciding a case needed to take some alcohol. This was based on the fact that African societies led a communal type of lifestyle and relations were greatly valued. They never wanted to jeopardize relationships therefore, beer was the deciding factor in making sound judgements.
It was also used to appease the spirits of the departed by way of pouring some beer on the ground followed by some incantations. During memorial times of the deceased, beer was used as an appeasement of the spirit of the departed. After the burial of the deceased and when conducting the rites of passage of the deceased, beer was sprinkled on the belongings of the deceased to let his spirit depart peacefully.
It was also used during some once a year events like traditional ceremonies as well as events such as weddings, various initiation ceremonies and funerals. Weddings was a time when beer was used for merry making because it was a joyous moment when two families came together to strengthen their bond through the union of their children.

Beer was also never a commercial commodity in the traditional African society. However, the interaction with the colonial masters resulted in beer becoming a commercial commodity. People are now allowed to pass time buying beer something that has been alien to the traditional African society.

The struggle for cultural identity has greatly compromised the values of the African society


Published by MyWritings

A Writer, A Diplomat in Waiting, Climate Change Advocate and a Football Administrator

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