Binge drinking in South Africa

Are South Africans Really Binge-Drinking More During Level 1 Lockdown?

Level 1 lockdown allowed the re-opening of bars. The alcohol ban lifted, but that’s not to say the anti-lobbyists don’t hope for much stronger alcohol regulations in the future. And now, a media outlet suggested that it “appears” people binge-drink more since the Level 1 Lockdown started.

South Africans and binge-drinking

IOL reported on October 10, that it “appears” South Africans “drink more” these days. It looks like they reached this assumption on the word of two anonymous ride-hailing service drivers. And, they cited a study based in the USA. Quite why South African drinking habits get aligned with Americans, isn’t clear.

The outlet noted that “Clarence,” one of the drivers, “could do without…the very drunk customers that spill out of Joburg’s pubs and clubs in the wee hours.” Well, that might be a bit questionable right now. After all, the regulations come with restricted operating curfew times. And, number limitations apply to how many people may enter a licensed establishment.

Still, one can really sympathise with drivers delivering vomiting drunks home. Perhaps their sources drew on pre-lockdown memories?

The Professor who spoke about Binge-drinking in Level 1 lockdown

IOL also spoke with “Professor Charles Parry, director: Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Research Unit, Medical Research Council of SA.” He couldn’t base anything on South African studies, as there simply aren’t any. In fact, he said, “We don’t really know much about this in South Africa, but it’s an interesting question.”  Then, he littered his take on it with “Might” this and “Might” that.

So, it’s hardly conclusive that the recollections of two drivers and a lack of South African studies reveal South Africans drink more right now. Anonymous Clarence said, “Yeah, my brother…people are drinking more, especially after this lockdown.” But, it seems unlikely that these few opinions could produce any bankable feasibility study.

South Africans drink

There’s no denying that people drink in South Africa. In fact, it’s an unfortunate social culture in the country. And, it’s not a new problem. Definitely, it’s not a new thing since the alcohol ban was lifted. But, it could be a bit of a stretch to surmise that binge-drinking got worse during Level 1 Lockdown. Nor could it really be compared to pre-lockdown days.

What do you think? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below.

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