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Social exclusion as a contributing factor for the addition of harmful substances to home-made alcohol: The case of Mopani District in Limpopo Province, South Africa

JC Makhubele


Social exclusion elements (poverty, high unemployment and lack of social contacts) have generally been found to be contributing factors to the increased prominence of home-made alcohol in South African society and in the Mopani District of Limpopo Province in particular. These major elements of exclusion combined create a situation from which it is quite difficult for rural people to escape. Therefore, consumption of alcohol, be it home-made or industrymanufactured, makes a significant contribution to alcohol-related harm globally. Harmful use of alcohol and particularly the under-researched and unrecorded home-made alcohol and its related
problems have become one of the major global public health problems. Alcohol consumption has been identified as an important risk factor of chronic disease and injury. Home-made alcohol production and use correlates strongly with the pressures placed upon social capital by rapid
modernization and the decline in traditional social relationships and forms of family structure. The socio-economic injustices and the constant weakening of family bonds have created an environment in which temporary escape from the harsh reality of everyday life is often sought
through the production of home-made alcohol. The focus of this paper was to explore the rationale towards concoction of harmful substances into home-made alcohol in Mopani District of Limpopo Province. Qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual design was ideal and purposive and snowball samplings were used. Data was collected through interviews with
brewers and consumers of home-made alcoholic beverages. It was found that foreign substances are put into home-made alcoholic beverages for commercial reasons as a way of dealing with socio-economic exclusion. Due to the high concerns of public health in rural areas because of
foreign substances into home-made alcohol, social workers in public health should do awareness campaigns and community education on home-made alcohol.

Key Words: home-made alcohol, unemployment, poverty, social isolation