Friday, September 4, 2009

Drinking Place!

A shebeen used to be a drinking place, bar where unlicensed alcohol was sold. They were usually found in black townships as during the apartheid years, Black Africans were not allowed to enter pub or bars reserved for whites. They originally sold homebrewed beer or alcohol that was brewed by the owner him/herself. They were a place where people used to meet to discuss political and social issues. There were places with much music and loud chatting and they often allowed dancing, which gave their patrons the opportunity to express themselves. This music helped give rise to kwaito!

Now, shebeens are legal and are an important part of our cultural heritage. They appeal to the youth and are popular amongst tourists, especially when visiting areas like Soweto. I believe they are similar to “juke joints” which were popular in America’s South.

Philip and I came across a conference venue the other day, and they had turned their pub area into a “shebeen” which they have found very popular! They have decorated it with old bits and pieces and it has quite a lot of character. The menu is authentic township food with “chakalaka” (a spicy vegetable dish served with pap!), amasi ( thick sour milk) pap (a thick porridge made from ground corn) and bbq’d meat.

We had an amazing afternoon, wandering around and looking at everything. One of the things they do, which tickled me no end, it fill an ANCIENT washing machine with ice and put beers inside it to keep cool. Like a huge ice bucket!
They served our drinks in old tin cups!
I think we might just go back there!


Eleanor said...

That looks cool! My daughter and son-in-law would love to visit a shebeen like that. I am a little less keen. The old stick-in-the-mud me!

Jeanette said...

What a very cool place!

Firefly said...

Very interesting turning their restaurant into a shebeen. I've always thought something like that will go down well with people, specially tourists.

Corey~living and loving said...

how interesting. I love the mismatched furniture.

Rebecca Louise. said...

No kidding this was like a history lesson and I loved it! I learnt about the apartheid at school but not heard if this!!!

Thank you, I am so glad it is integrated within your culture =)