Dry lockdown / High lockdown

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Sabstian With Prohibition

Dry lockdown / High lockdown

 Dry lockdown – High lockdown

Day 17 in lockdown, Cape Town, South Africa.

Dan and Ben are rising quite early by their lockdown standards, just before midday. They enjoy their morning ritual, coffee and peeing on their lemon tree. It seems like a perfect day for the great outdoors, so, like many of their fellow South Africans they decide to have a lekker braai in the garden. Dan gets going, checks the number of ostrich fillets, and opens the fridge realising they´re out of beer.

“Ben!!!” Ben´s head pops out of the sofa´s armrest.

“What is it now?” He says with a tone of defeat.

“I hope you have a plan to get us some more beers bru.”

He grins at me reassuringly.

Meanwhile 20 km away another pair of brothers, Jack and Dale are loading the contraband into the spare tyre compartment. There is a sense of guilt in the air. These boys had never gone as far as cheating in a school test.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Says Dale while mentally checking his to-do list.

A) Stash hidden sufficiently. Check

B) Alibi consisting of bag of groceries including milk, eggs, and bread. Check

C) Enough gas in the Fiat Palio in case I get detained and my stone-broke brother needs to drive home. Check

Sabstian With Prohibition

They leave the comfort of their farm and head to close the deal on a sports field in Stellenbosch where they plan to meet their counterparts. As they approach the field, they catch sight of Dan´s car. They park aside. The transaction gets underway. Two crates of Carling Black Label quartz covered in plastic bags are unloaded from Dale´s Palio into Dan´s car, and Dan hands Dale a 20-gm bag of Skunk-Hindu Kush which goes straight into his pocket.

About 50 meters away are officers Sibanda and his faithful partner Goodwill, witnessing the whole thing. As both cars pull out of the field, they are stopped by Sibanda in civilian clothing who flashes his badge.

“Good day officer.” Says Dan in a stuttering voice.

“What brings you out of lock down?” Asks Sibanda,

“We´ve been shopping?” Says Jack showing their alibi bag.

“But the evidence is very strong. Boys, will you please step out of the vehicle while we search it.” Replies officer Goodwill.

After searching them and realising what has just gone the officers feel they have grounds to arrest both parties as they are taking part in the illegal trade of banned alcohol during lock-down.

The outcome of the story is as follows:

As they are being cuffed Dan asks. “How can we be arrested when no money exchange has taken place.” The police officers look puzzled and hesitate.

“Very well.” Says Sibanda. “You are free to go, but we are going to have to confiscate your illegal goods.”

As marijuana holds a legal status in this country, they are allowed to keep it. So, they split it up. On the other hand, the crates of beers are confiscated due to lock-down regulations.

This story is an example of how the black market in alcohol and tabaco will no doubt arise in these times.

This is yet another conceptual contradiction that South Africans have to deal with on a daily basis in this wonderfully colourful country.

South Africa, followed up closely by Zimbabwe are the only two countries in the world to implement these bans on alcohol and tobacco during, with the exception of Greenland´s capital, Nuuk, and some regions of Mexico and Thailand. The Préfet of the Aisne département in north east France considered it, he said: “Excessive consumption of alcohol is likely to create increased disturbances and violence, especially within the family. However, his initiative was met with such opposition on worldwide media that he had no choice but to make a U-turn.

My questions are:

What is a braai without beer? And, is the usurpation of our freedom in its most fundamental form not enough? Do they really need to restrict us from buying “non-essentials” such as paint or nails to have something to do during this quarantine?

Nevertheless, thank you Cyril Ramaphosa for not remembering to regulate our herb, which no doubt will bring peace and calm around the country as buds in bongs, pipes, chillums and spiffs are lit up.

By Sebastian Roger Hernandez

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