The Perils of Drunk Walking, South African Edition

A while back, a reader sent us this photo, with a warning you rarely see in the U.S.:

In light of our recent podcast “The Perils of Drunk Walking,” we got in touch with Kon Scholtz, head of marketing and sales at United National Breweries, the South African company that makes the beer in question, Chibuku Shake Shake. Scholtz told us that Shake Shake is a nickname for traditional African beer made from maize and malt; it has a short shelf life (about five days), a relatively low alcohol content (3.5%) and, is meant to be shaken before consumption. It is also, according to Scholtz, very nutritional.

As for the warning on the carton, Scholtz explained:

In South Africa, we’ve got what the government calls “7 Health Warning Signs.” It’s recommended health warning slogans, and we as a company have the option to select any one of the 7 if we would like to put it on our product. Why we have decided “Don’t Drink and Walk on the Road, You May Be Killed” is very simple. In our consumer base, it’s more the rural area — and so many of them don’t drive motor vehicles by themselves. If you go to the South Africa stats, you’ll find that nearly half of all fatalities in motor accidents is actually pedestrians who are hit and killed by cars. We thought amongst ourselves: let’s utilize this slogan, put it on the carton, have this kind of communication to our consumers to say “Hey gentlemen and ladies: please be mindful. If you drink, enjoy it but watch out you can be killed on the road.”


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  1. frankenduf says:

    i am naive here, but does South Africa have adequate sidewalks?

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    • cbp says:

      >> Does South Africa have adequate sidewalks?

      Mostly yes, but not in rural areas.

      My guess is that there are just a lot more people walking around in South Africa. If you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about – whereever you go there are people walking on the sides of the roads, usually because they can’t afford to own a car.

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    • James says:

      Naive, and apparently also an urbanite. Rural areas don’t have sidewalks, whether they’re rural areas in South Africa, Europe, or the US.

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  2. brian t says:

    I tried a little of that stuff when I lived in South Africa: it has an incredibly strong stench and taste, a bit like rancid yoghurt. Not to my taste. It might only be 3.5% alcohol, but it’s sold by the litre (about 3 std bottles) and I saw some people put it away like it was lemonade. The warning is quite necessary …

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  3. Ben Groot says:

    I listened to this podcast today on the way back from work & wondered how our SA stats would differ from NYC. Now I know, thanks! Great podcast.

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  4. Matt says:

    Suddenly I’m thirsty for a carton of beer.

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  5. AaronS says:

    I’m thinking that drinking or not, you might be killed if you walk on the road.

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  6. Paulo M says:

    Shake Shake = Mkomboti

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  7. Gary says:

    I’m wondering how many drink and then drive on the roads (or off them) to the peril of pedestrians?

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  8. tioedong says:

    alas, a couple of years ago, the number of Native Americans who froze to death trying to thumb a ride back from the town bar to their dry reservations prompted some docs to petition the tribe to lift their ban on alcohol.

    As for Africa: in some areas, roads are narrower than in the US, and people walk down the middle of them. So yes, it could be very dangerous.

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