Rustenburg – An 11-year-old boy died during the final stage of a beer drinking contest in Malawi, local media reported on Monday.
According to a report in news website Malawi24 the boy, who was a keen drinker, died after drinking five bottles of kachasu at a drinking contest in Mzimba in the northern part of the country.
Kachashu is an illegal traditional distilled beverage consumed mainly in rural and poor urban residential areas of the southern African country.
The boy had reached the finals of the contest when he collapsed, his friends told Malawi24.
The winner of the beer drinking competition was set to pocket MK20 000 (about 50 cents).
The competition was organised for those aged under 14, those below 21 years, and for seniors.
An eyewitness told Malawi24 that they suspected foul play in the boy’s death as he was the defending champion.
“He was not just an amateur boozer,” said the witness, identified as Emmanuel Chirwa.
According to Chirwa, contestants paid a MK1,000 entrance fee and were required to eat before the drinking competition.
“So, he did not die because he did not eat before beginning the contest. They all ate before the contest. Something went wrong,” said Chirwa.
The child protection officer for the area, Shanks Nkhata, said he was following up the matter and would engage traditional leaders on banning the brewing of the illicit beer.
“We hear the child was in Standard 7 at Kafulufulu primary and with schools on a corona (Covid-19) break, he turned into an avid drunkard,“ Malawi24 qouted Nkhata as saying, adding that he was aware of similar other cases.
Beer drinking competitions are common in parts of Malawi.
In a similar incident, The Nation newspaper reported last June that a 34 year-old man died during a beer drinking contest in Chikwawa district.
– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa