A shot of whisky after church

2011-12-10 18:20

Three South Africans try to imagine a festive season without alcohol.

Lele Mamatu is a whisky man. He enjoys a 12-year-old Glenfiddich, on the rocks, while relaxing at home with his family. “Because it is so expensive (R275 a bottle), I don’t share it.”

When drinking with friends, Mamatu prefers Jameson. It’s less expensive and he parties on a R500 budget.

After “applying for a visa from my wife, Nthabiseng, which she usually grants with a strict curfew”, Mamatu dresses to kill and drives the 45km to Botshabelo, outside Bloemfontein, where he likes to hang out at the Manchu Inn.

“I hail from this town and it is like going home – meeting all my buddies and childhood friends.”

Mamatu eats a plate of good food – lamb chops, pap and salad or gravy – then the “good times begin” with a couple of whisky shots.

“We take turns to buy a round of drinks,” he says.

Mamatu and his friend, Kholisile Baxa, can easily “polish off a whole bottle”. But if he feels tipsy, he starts to look for a place to crash.

“If we had a slow evening, I would meet my wife’s curfew.”

For Mamatu, communications manager at the Mangaung Metro in Bloemfontein, a festive season without alcohol is not a festive season. He says his liquor shopping for this period can easily cost R1 000 or more. His liquor basket would contain JC Le Roux for his wife, a few beers and ciders for “friends that might pop in”, a bottle of Jameson and, of course, Glenfiddich.

Mamatu says nothing beats a good shot of whisky on Christmas Day after church or with friends, while counting down to the new year. “We work so hard during the year and this is the time to sit back, relax and enjoy a good drink with good friends.”

As for the ban on alcohol at government year-end functions, Mamatu says he respects Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s view, but he also believes drinking is a personal issue. “The ban won’t stop people from drinking.”

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