According to a number of reports, both genuine and fake, Ugandans rank very high on the list of nationals who consume great quantities of alcohol. We are internationally known as the drinking champions of this generation. If you are Ugandan, it is safe to assume that you have a drinking problem. If not that, then you know someone who has a drinking problem. If not that, then you are the reason someone is drinking – you are the drinking problem. And if it is none of those then one or both your parents are not Ugandan. There might be one or two individuals who will be up in arms against this allegation saying they have never tasted alcohol. To those, I have but one message – you are letting down our country. So much for the spirit of patriotism!
Moving on …
A number of theories and beliefs have been forwarded to explain why Ugandans love the bottle. Some scholars have forwarded the argument that Ugandans are the most intellectually mature natives of this earth therefore they drink a lot of alcohol to help them cope with the slow nature of other people. Some other scholars from the far East are of the opinion that Ugandans consume a lot of alcohol simply because we can. This school of thought has loopholes though seeing as people of other nations also CAN DRINK but somehow haven’t chosen to drink as much. Overall, very many arguments have been offered.
With a glass of low-alcoholic-content wine on my desk and my Laptop plugged into a power source, I shall share my bottled theories.
The Theory of Death
This theory states that Ugandans take alcohol because it helps to blur your sight about the inevitability of death. You see, Ugandans love life so much that we hate to be reminded about the little demon of death. The natural thing to do if one wants to forget something is take a few shots of a hardcore drink. This way, one will not just forget about death but they will take on a new persona altogether; one of a superhero. There is no man on this earth as invincible and dangerous as a man under the influence of alcohol. He will fling himself at anything and anyone with the assumption that nothing will harm him. Very carefully instructs your mind to create a fierce and dangerous person out of you, a person who will receive mail from the Angel of Death and re-address it with a neat addition ‘RETURN TO SENDER!!!’
Alcohol makes you put up a No-Death sign right away
The Marketing Theory
This theory suggests that alcohol marketing is the reason for our love of the bottle. In many countries around the world, the most aggressively advertised products are gadgets, health products, foodstuffs, financial products and Telecom services among other things. In Uganda, not too many products are marketed even half as fiercely as alcohol. If there was a Uganda life lost every time an alcohol advert hit the airwaves, this country would have few people left, all of them visitors from neighboring countries. We advertise alcohol way more than we advertise mosquito nets, vaccination, farming equipment, educational products and clothing all combined. The population loves their drink and the companies know it. Why deny them what they want?
Beer companies will give you the answer – never the question
The Troubled Theory
Here, there is the belief that Ugandans are a troubled lot of people. With a life that is packed with complaining about UMEME, dodging tear gas canisters, hiding from iron bar thieves, arguing with conductors, sweating in traffic jam, begging for a salary raise, watching the national team get walloped left right and center, listen to stories of child sacrifice and generally worry about anything and everything, there is no way someone will stay away from alcohol. Under these circumstances, the realistic thing to do is be resilient and work to better the situation around you. However, who wants to waste their time fixing things when you can forget everything happened by just taking a few shots of a killer cocktail at your local bar? Forget the troubles, forget the worries, forget the realities and swing by the local joint for a few drinks. That ought to help you put the past behind you – albeit momentarily.
Troubles left, right and center
The Partying Theory
This school of thought maintains that Ugandans are the most exciting and excited people to be around. Many of the people I have met who are from other countries but have spent some time in Uganda confess that there are few countries in the world that can offer the level of partying that Ugandans offer. Here, people party throughout the entire week and they do it while drinking truckloads of alcohol. A typical schedule of a working class Ugandan would have all evenings set aside for a few drinks. Monday, one will meet with the boys. Tuesday, there is the office drink up. Wednesday is the mid-week madness. Thursday is all about happy hour. Friday is when the real mayhem begins, Saturday is for getting wasted and Sunday is when people take a little alcohol to help them forget the previous night’s escapades. It is a non-stop chain of partying and drinking left right and center.
The Drama Theory
Imagine a scenario where you wake up in the morning to hear your neighbours quarrelling and fighting. You take a quick shower and head out to catch the morning taxi. In the taxi you are seated between two large women who are consuming 80% of the oxygen while adding 150% carbon dioxide back into the same air you are struggling to breathe in. When you get to work, your boss walks in a few seconds after you, looking like he is in the mood to fire someone. As you rush to log in and complete yesterday’s assignment, an unemployed buddy sends you a whatsapp message with a fresh video titled – Sex Tape Recorded in Convent. As much as you want to concentrate on the Excel Sheet in front of you, the video begs for and eventually wins your attention. Halfway through the video, you are grinning then one of your colleagues notices and immediately tells everyone that you are watching pornography. Before you know it, the female colleagues start avoiding you except for the 42-year-old cleaning lady who is suddenly more interested in you. She makes a pass and you innocently smile but say nothing. As you play hide and seek with the cleaning lady, your boss passes by your desk and notices you are absent. Then you are summoned to the office, only to be told that the cleaning lady has just filed a sexual harassment case against you – apparently you have been stalking her! As the evening draws closer, your friends call you up to join them for a few drinks, how are you going to say no to that? This is the sort of drama that we go through on a daily basis.
Nothing but the truth
There are a total of 924 theories that have been advanced to explain the drunkenness that Ugandans very proudly possess. However, due to the fact that apparently people get tired of reading, I must stop right here. Real bummer!
“Maybe some folks are alcoholics and others are just voluntary drunks. Maybe some folks drink due to body chemistry and others due to their lazy characters. Maybe some have drinking problems, while others have problems enough to drink.” ― George Jones, I Lived to Tell It All
The Talkative Rocker
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