South Africans turn to traditions, make home-brewed beer to beat coronavirus booze ban. Since President Cyril Ramaphosa banned alcohol sales as part of a coronavirus shutdown, booze-deprived South Africans have turned to home-brew fermenting to get around the prohibition.

Here’s recipe for how to make Umgombothi


  • 2 kg maize meal

  • 2 kg sorghum

  • 6 litres water


  • Combine maize meal sorghum with six litres of boiling water and mix until it is a smooth paste. Leave this to ferment for two days, in a warm, dark place.
  • After day two, scoop out two cups of the fermented mixture and set aside. Mix the remaining paste with two litres of boiling water in a pot, and place on the stove. Simmer, stirring often, for about an hour then let it cool.
  • Then place this mix back in your bucket, add the two cups of fermented paste and stir, finally adding another 1kg of sorghum to the mix.
  • The next day the mixture should be bubbling nicely, which means your beer is ready. Strain it through a sieve, chill and enjoy.

Although traditionally served at special ceremonies where ancestral spirits are evoked such as funerals and weddings, the brew with a creamy texture and a pungent smell is gaining popularity. The pre-mixture of maize and sorghum can also be cooked and served as a breakfast porridge and it is also believed to soothe stomach ulcers.

According to data on the Google trends website, there has been a rise in the search on “how to make your own alcohol” — starting especially as the country entered its second week of lockdown.