Find us on Google+

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Kachasu Women of Kantolomba

The excellent Potipher Tembo returns with another, albeit brief piece, on the Kachasu town that is Kantolomba, this time focusing on how a new literacy is helping women engage themselves in developmental projects and discouraging them from brewing and selling Kachasu. A worthy project but hardly the long term solution. A previous post substantiates my position - In defence of the Kachasu industry. [There you'll also find a link to a previous piece by Potipher Tembo].


  1. If Kachasu can be standardized in a form safe for human consumption, then the ideal marketing model has to be something similar to Kentucky bourbon. In spite of being internationally recognized, traded, and even copied, nevertheless the branding and marketing efforts of Kentucky bourbon producers has retained some 95% of all manufacture in that one state within the 50 state US, let alone overseas. This is now a multi-billion dollar annual industry, which is culturally tied to the place of its origin, in spite of being illegal in the local and national jurisdiction less than a century ago. No-one goes blind from drinking Kentucky Moonshine any longer, and the local economy receives an annual billion-dollar boost. Sounds like win-win to me.

    Is there some other, non-alcoholic chemical in Kachasu (like in Absinthe) which I am unaware of which might make it inherently more unsafe than other informally produced "moonshine" liquors? My understanding was that this was the simple result of unregulated distillation of grains into alcohol. If there is some other psychotropic chemical at work, then it would require a rethink on any legalization framework. Please, if anyone knows more about the chemical structure of this fermented brew, do let us know!

  2. When you use the term Kachasu, you are referring to illegal substances. Once they follow approved distilling processes, the product is no longer refered at as Kachasu. It becomes a spirit like Vodka, Whiskey, Bourbon, etc... Similarly, munkoyo is a brew that is made in villages where as Chibuku is made following approcess processes and is accepable for trade.

  3. Thanks FMD, that explains a lot! I would certainly get a similar reaction in Kentucky had I recommended formalization of "moonshine" production! Some words just won't ever become acceptable "brand names" I suppose. Perhaps an approach that emphasized regional varieties, as with French wines then?

    Retailing alcoholic beverages from several continents is daily business for me and my employees, but anything that I sell must first pass through the National and State governments (this is particularly true in my local jurisdiction, where there is a government monopoly at the wholesale level). We sell Japanese sakes, Irish whiskeys and Belgian beers on a regular basis, and while it would be hard to convince anyone to stock Zambian bourbon in the face of the Kentucky mystique, a word like "kachasu" is one that I can sell on a practical level. Call it what you like, but by all means find a way to package it as Zambian and not as some knock-off or generic product. Animal names sell well, and with 73 languages to choose from, there should be no end to the trademark possibilities.

  4. Oh Oh! Here we go again! Yaba!

    Yakima, I agree with you. The name 'Kachasu' immediately attracts the local constablia just like how "weed", "jay", etc... refer to narcotics.

    Giving it a Zambian identity like we did with Mosi is the way forward.


All contributors should follow the basic principles of a productive dialogue: communicate their perspective, ask, comment, respond,and share information and knowledge, but do all this with a positive approach.

This is a friendly website. However, if you feel compelled to comment 'anonymously', you are strongly encouraged to state your location / adopt a unique nick name so that other commentators/readers do not confuse your comments with other individuals also commenting anonymously.