As much as 30% of our population has either succumbed to alcoholism or is in danger of going that way. Only two countries in Africa and five in the world consume more alcohol each year. Our road death rate is double the global average, not least because drinking and driving appears to be a national sport. Contestants, one in five of whom are too intoxicated to drive legally, seem to earn extra points for killing pedestrians.
Those are the World Health Organization (WHO) figures for South Africans aged 15 and over. Thing is, according to the Human Sciences Research Council, some of us start drinking at 10. Add to that our unhealthy but justifiable disdain for authority past and present and our predilection for violence – both inevitable consequences of living under the heel of a jackboot for so long – and it isn’t difficult to see why we have a drinking problem that spills over into the rest of our lives. We lock our social, political and economic shackles ourselves by boozing so much that we lose the keys to moderation.
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