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South Africa dropped the ball and the glass – they can’t even guzzle the Drinking World Cup

South Africa dropped the ball and the glass – they can’t even guzzle the Drinking World Cup

Bafana Bafana are a shadow of what they once were, and we should be better at our other favourite pastime.

While many were lamenting the failure by Mzansi’s hapless, hopeless national football team to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, the country’s growing status as a losing nation was continuing elsewhere.

In May 2016 the country’s booze consumption rate climbed up the world rankings, taking us to among the top 20 biggest boozers in the world.

The World Health Organization came up with this finding after tracking alcohol consumption per capita across 194 countries. How it did this, I am not really sure. But good lord, I would have paid my last rand to be part of that hard-working team collecting data on the world’s boozing habits.

In these trying times when a country of 60-odd million people can’t even manufacture lousy underwear, importing it instead from China, any good news – regardless of how bad – is good. At least back then Mzansians were good at something.

The data showed that, in 2015, pure alcohol consumption (per litre) in South Africa was at 11.5l per capita per year – up from 11.0l in 2014. This statistic pushed South Africa up to the third-biggest drinking nation in Africa, and the 19th-biggest drinking nation in the world, tied with Poland. The finding also noted that more than a quarter of Mzansi’s drinking population were binge drinkers who consumed at least 60g or more of pure alcohol in one session within a 30-day period.

How our politicians missed this one, I don’t know. Remember, they are given to throwing lavish ceremonies – paid for by the taxpayer – to celebrate something as trivial as South Africa being ranked the country with the highest number of lightning strikes in the world. Well, not literally, but these guys just love the pomp and ceremony. They would do anything – or just about anything – to look like hard-working, committed cadres in the eyes of the public.

In fact, I am surprised they have not celebrated Bafana Bafana’s recent achievement: the failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. One would have expected a long statement from the Minister of Congratulations and Condolences heaping praise on the boys. But it hasn’t come. Or maybe it will come at the end of the tournament later this month. Who knows?

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That particular minister seems to go to his office only to craft one of his long, monotonous statements that read like a Grade 7 composition, either when a public figure goes the way of all flesh or when someone or some team does something remarkable on the world stage.

I’m surprised his office hasn’t pushed for South Africa to assemble a team to participate in the annual Testicle Festival in Europe. Can you imagine a statement from that office should a team from these shores participate in that event? Balls, balls, balls…


Anyway, speaking of Bafana Bafana, as of 23 June they were ranked number 12 in the continental football standings and 68th in the world. Some have suggested that the reason our boys have been doing so badly on the continental and world stage is that they crack open more booze bottles and take down more g-strings than they score goals. Their exploits in bars and beds are more accurate than on the pitch. What a shame!

Strangely though, there seemed to be more outrage among Mzansians over Qatar’s strict restrictions on alcohol consumption during the tournament than about the fact that Bafana Bafana failed to qualify.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Old-school teachers might have been sadists wielding fan belts, but man did they have style

Even varsity dropouts who can’t point out Qatar on the world map were raving mad on social media, as if they would have made the trip to the Gulf had Bafana Bafana qualified.

Some local scribes who flew to the tournament also joined the chorus, lamenting the drought at Qatar’s hotel bars. Some were even secretly grumbling about the absence of a red light district there.

It appears that Bafana Bafana’s poor performance on the pitch has impacted badly on the exploits of Mzansians in the bar and tavern. Statistics suggest South Africa has not only dropped the ball, but the glass too.

Recent studies show that the Seychelles, that little island country with a population less than that of Mthatha or Hotazel, is the champion drinking nation in Africa.

It’s followed by Uganda, that lush, hot, humid country with some of the darkest people on Earth. Eish, having spent some time in Uganda, I can attest to its prevailing “conducive climatic conditions” for always having a cold one.

We all know the ugly health side-effects of booze when abused or taken in copious amounts by people with questionable morals. But still, a self-respecting nation can’t be beaten by the likes of Seychelles in anything.

Not so stylish. We need a commission of inquiry. DM168

Mr Styles is the former president of the Organisation for Stylish People of South Africa (Osposa). He is against anything and anyone unstylish.

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.


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