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The devil in the bottle

You have never lived until you have been a member of a stokvel. Ask me, I have lived. I can drink for the whole night, my bra. I can tell every drink by it’s smell. They do not call me “mahlaleshushu” or “nylon legs” for nothing.

I have passed all the shebeen tests. I have been to all the nightclubs in town. I am a real phuza graduate, as the lovers of the bottle call an all night drinker.

Let me tell you the good news before you think that I have more beers than blood in my body. I have decided to lead a clean life. Me and the bottle are no longer friends. S’true, ek se jou. I am a new mjita and I am proud of it.

It was not easy for me to stop drinking. To tell you the truth, I still miss the jokes and the music of the “watering hole”. My friends laugh at me and say I have stopped drinking because Naka, my dearest and best friend, told me to choose her or the bottle. They call me a bhari who is afraid of women. I do not worry. Ek is nie ‘n bhari and I know what is good for me.


Let me tell you why I decided to part ways with the bottle. I used to spend more than half my salary on the ‘queen’s tears’. I would tell myself that I was going to drink only one beer.

After the first beer, I would buy two more. That is beer sana, it has got woza- woza, you buy one and that one tells you to buy two more.

The music would be loud and nice. It would keep me on my feet, jiving for every song. Ek se jou, I was a real “skaapie”.

I would buy liquor for everyone that I knew, talk a lot of funny things, and sometimes end up sleeping under the tables. I was just a small ‘malalapipe’. These bottles were making me sick, in my head and my body.

I used to drink and enjoy myself like a king, forgetting about all my problems. When morning came, my head was heavy – and my tongue felt like it was run over by a hippo. My body felt like I borrowed it from someone else. I would not be able to smell anything and food tasted like soil.

I did not eat at work. I only dreamed of a regmaaker. My lunch was two beers. Those were my donkey days, my friend.


My mother did not give me a plate of food when I came home drunk. Sometimes she locked me out of the house and told me to go back to the shebeen. I had to go and sleep with my friends.

My sister’s kid, Mazambane, always ran away from me because I used to fall on top of him. I was like three ships in the wind.

“What good is there in this bottle that makes children run way from me?” I asked myself.

I put on my thinking cap – and it came to my mind why I had so few good friends. Who would like to be a friend of a dronkie? I must respect myself if I want people to respect me. Me, I was a dronkie and amper ‘n hobo. Sies, die bier was my baas.


My friend Eddie who likes food and training was very happy when he heard that I am a new man. He said that if I want a beautiful and sexy body like him, I must go to the gym.

The following day I brought my shorts with me and followed Eddie to his gym. I tell you, it’s like another world there. I have never seen such people. No red eyes! No phuza faces! No phuza bellies!

Yes, my bra, it’s a new life for me. I don’t say I’ll never take another drop – I’m sure I will, here and there. But I don’t want to be like I was before. I no longer want to be a slave to drink. Tell that to the devil in the bottle!


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