Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Slavery

The Drunk Elephant in the Room

I would love to hear a proper debate about alcohol and its ban during lockdown. I would love to hear how alcohol is the sharpest and clearest tool for understanding class and race in South Africa.

Alcohol and its production cannot be separated out from oppressive Apartheid history. Alcohol is one of the most prominent features of financial slavery, and difference of its use and abuse in different classes of society reflects the story.

The dop system, still in operation on many wine farms, has been explored in all its horror, but what isn’t always in discussion is how alcohol has made slaves of the poor and disenfranchised all over the country.

When the middle class complain on social media of running out of gin and red wine this is an entirely different scenario from the ones played out in our poor communities.

Alcohol is a legal but powerful drug. Its abuse in South Africa is a pandemic of its own. Because it is legal the bullshit about it being able to be used responsibly by consumers is peddled (albeit weakly) in tiny fine print in its ads that show a glamorous and false lifestyle, unattainable to most. The reality is that alcohol is a poison that increases aggression which destroys families and is a contributing factor in GBV and even murder.

Alcohol is big business, huge business at the expense of the poor. And it is slavery.

And during lockdown I have been so pissed off by the complete bullshit of SAB adverts about unity on Twitter. Sies and tsek.

Slavery, and the feast to remember what it means

I dragged Big Friendly to Checkers in Sea Point today, shopping for especially kosher-ish things, since I am making a combined Passover/birthday meal for one of my oldest friends and his family on Monday night. I needed to get kosher wine, and did, loving the fact that it is called Sacramental Red!

We have decided that we are doing an interactive discourse of the ceremony. All the traditional bits and bobs will be there but we will be having a discussion about slavery; what it means to be enslaved, what it means to be a slave-master in all senses, literal, figurative, emotional, psychological. I think this is the best and most appropriate way to celebrate the meaning of the holiday rather than the shallow rituals that often go unexplained. It also helps that there is a big mix of those of us (even though we are only 6) who are purebreds, mixed, absorbed, and totally not born Jewish but with complete Jewish sympathy or leanings. (I find it fascinating being a reluctant born Jew with a husband who loves Jews and Jewishness.)

But what it does mean is that I’ll be cooking for the next two days. Kneidlach (I’m pretty good at them) and non-chicken soup (I am a pescetarian) , gefilte fish (it’s a first and I’ll let you know how it goes), charoset (a weird mix of nuts, apples, sweet wine, cinnamon, syrup) to signify cement and mortar (but I can’t remember why), boiled eggs, and pavlova (because I love making them). My friends will bring the meat course.

I’m liking the idea, more and more.

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