columnBy Musa Zimunya
So it's official - Namibians have made beer drinking a national pastime.
I was startled when I read an article saying Namibia Breweries Limited sold almost a million hectolitres (which is 100 million litres) or 220 truckloads of beer locally each month. A million hectolitres - that per year is like what? I cannot really imagine without straining my head, so before I strain it, let me go and get myself a beer real quick.
The staggering amounts of alcohol consumed, beer to be precise, have negative effects on society, all the while the production of beer makes a positive contribution to the economy.
It is such a conundrum if you ask me. I mean, on the one hand each and every bottle generates money, while on the other hand, every other bottle of beer consumed results in some sort of alcohol-fuelled violence, the beatings and stabbings that occur every other weekend involving drunk people.
But hey, check this out. Just a few days ago I was at my mate's house and we were definitely contributing to those million-something hectolitres of beer.
There was this miniskirt-wielding woman who was a special uninvited guest - who took it on herself to have a mission or an undertaking of some sort to out-drink the other chaps in our company. We took up the challenge in the name of gender equality.
The word "deal" was muttered as the lady raised her chin, very pleased, for initiating such a daring challenge.
Our host was a little impatient with the many uninvited people who turned up for what was supposed to be a party of a few friends, but everyone enjoyed the spectacle in front of their eyes, with the guzzling female conducting her jaw-dropping feat of attempting to drink a dam.
Of course the boys cheered, the meat on the braai sizzled, cigarettes were smoked as beer bottle tops popped. In the meantime the host's toothless dog arrived on the scene like a bat out of hell and hovered the area anticipating nothing more than bones.
In no time a small argument easily erupted into some kind of a situation, and things started going from bad to worse, as the alcohol marinated the brains of those present.
The once confident, now drowsy lady charged at one gentleman demanding to have a 'puff of the gwaai,' - in the process she slipped and twisted, tipping the hot coals over and falling in them.
For a second everyone seemed perturbed or perplexed before someone attempted to remove the lady from the scattered, red-hot coals from the braai.
All this time the toothless mongrel had its eyes fixed on the meat lying on the ground, much of which was just put back on the fire. I certainly was shocked, but the host could not hide his elation as he mustered an 'I told you so' grin as the lady was taken inside for a cold shower, uttering deafening howls in the night.
The howling was met by gales of laughter after the onlookers realised that the situation was not as bad as first thought, but it was bad.
For you to drink and fall in coals is definitely a signal that something is amiss.
Solve your problems elsewhere - is what I learnt, and if we perhaps all try and do that, we would not have scars on our legs. Did I mention that after the cold shower the lady's hair resembled the hair in the X-men movie Wolverine, because some charcoal had managed to burn through her Afro right in the middle, leaving two horn-like hairs of the once magnificent Afro.
This is just an incident but of course there were plenty more. A true patriot that lady was as she promoted the economy at the cost of a burn. But that surely is not the only way and there are more pleasant ways to promote an economy than that.
So do not become a statistic, be realistic and consider this story a wake-up call before you fall in the coals, because of too many glasses of beer. Sorry NGO