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THIS IS OUR SEASON – BUGANU BREWERS

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PIGG’S PEAK – “We can’t stop now because if we do, we will miss out on this once-in-a year opportunity to make money.”

These were sentiments made by rural folk who said despite the alcohol ban effected by government yesterday, they were hoping to cash in on brewing buganu. Since it is the buganu season, many residents in areas such as Emvembili, Ndlalambi, Buhleni and some parts of Mhlangatane, are already cashing in. The brew is fermented using the marula fruit, whose trees are common in the Hhohho Region. The buganu brew, which is sold cheaper, is readily available at various homesteads. Yesterday, government banned the sale and production of alcohol to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Children

*Musa, from Emvembili, said even children were now brewing buganu since they were not in school. He said children were able to walk long distances to fetch the marula fruit, which they used to brew the alcoholic beverage.  He said a one-litre container was being sold for E10 while a 25-litre fetched about E200 or more. “Even South Africans are crossing into the country to buy it,” he said. Musa said though South Africa had marula trees, the people there did not know how to brew buganu the way it was brewed in Eswatini. He said for that reason, many South Africans were crossing into the country to buy the buganu for re-selling, especially since the sale of alcohol in that country was also banned. He said the authorities in rural areas were not the same as in the urban areas. “Here, we are not worried about police officers,” he said. He said there were community police but added that many of them also enjoyed the brew.

Lockdown

Musa further said umcombotsi was also a popular brew in the area and that many people wouldn’t stop consuming it even if the country was to introduce strict lockdown rules.
“This is like food,” he said. He said because it was made from malt, many people drank umcombotsi the same way they consumed mahewu, which was a lightly fermented drink made from millet or maize meal.

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