Africans alike were outraged when a recent TIME magazine report claimed that Africa had a drinking problem.
But, it seems the publication wasn’t too far off the truth as a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report that tracks global drinking patterns reveals that South African women have the biggest appetite for alcohol on the continent, with a whopping 41,2% of women reported to be binge drinkers.
South African men, in comparison, are the seventh heaviest drinkers on the continent.
South Africa tied at the top with Zambia as the continent’s heaviest drinkers, followed closely by Burkina Faso at 36,8%, Mozambique at 32,8% and Nigeria with 32,9% of women reported to be binge drinkers.
The WHO defines binge drinking as consuming more than 60ml of alcohol per week where one standard drink is equivalent to 10g of pure alcohol. This means that consuming more than six drinks in a single sitting would be considered binge drinking.
The results coming out of Africa are in stark contrast to global statistics that show that while people love their tipple, there’s been a declining trend in binge drinking that researchers predominately put down to households tightening their belts in the aftermath of the global recession.
“Binge drinking has become less frequent and the proportion of young people who don’t drink has risen sharply,” the report says.
The world’s riskiest drinkers apparently reside in Russia and Ukraine according to the report.
Last year media reports exposed how pregnant women in South Africa were deliberately binge drinking to harm their unborn babies in an attempt to claim a bigger disability grant.
Expectant mothers in the Eastern Cape and poor communities around the country were reportedly drinking up to six bottles of a ‘moonshine’ that contained traces of battery acid, yeast and water – a cocktail of ingredients that can cause foetal alcohol syndrome.
The intention is for the baby to develop moderate to severe disabilities in their newborns, which means the mothers qualify to receive R1 359 per month in the form of a disability grant versus an ordinary child support grant of R390 per month.
Foetal alcohol syndrome is the most common birth defect in South Africa and the number of babies born with the syndrome are on the rise.
SOURCES: Daily Mail and The Times