South Africa: Whisky for All

In Johannesburg last week, a new group of customers filed hesitantly into the well-stocked liquor stores of Eloff and Commissioner Streets. For the first time in South Africa's history, any nonwhite could buy a pint of strong ale or a bottle of whisky without breaking the law.

The prohibition that ended last week was premised on the same logic that guides most South African race policies: the irresponsible "natives" could not be trusted with real alcohol, and therefore had to be limited to some mealy white suds called "kaffir beer." Naturally, the blacks drank anyway—usually in dingy shebeens (speakeasies) with...

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