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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/515

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Collectanea. 481

the hut ; the left side is the women's. A quantity of Kaffir beer stood beside him in a large pot. We sat down, and while we talked (Mr. Lugg interpreting) Laduma's brother skimmed the beer with a calabash-ladle, and poured some of the liquid from which he had thus removed the scum into another pot, and then covered it with an inverted bowl. Presently he ladled some from this second pot into a calabash and handed it to the chief, who drank and handed the calabash back. His brother then drank and passed the calabash round to us. He was sitting at the chief's right, and he passed the calabash round to the right. It happened that some of us, ignorant of the division of the hut between men and women, had seated ourselves on that side, and to us the calabash was first handed. Whether the direction in which the calabash was passed was accidental or according to etiquette I do not know. Kaffir beer is a thick, sour, greyish liquid.^ It is composed of a mash of millet fermented in water. Considerable quantities would be required to intoxicate. At festivals, however, considerable quantities are provided, and intoxication follows. Neither its taste nor its appearance is particularly inviting at first ; but it is said that a liking for it is easily acquired, and that after exercise on a hot day it is very refreshing — that, in fact, in properties as well as in taste, it approaches buttermilk.-

When we emerged once more into daylight (for there are no windows in a Kaffir hut) we found the skins of the newly- slaughtered oxen, each cut in two lengthwise and pegged out at full stretch on the ground, near one of the huts. They were being dressed with knives and axes to reduce them to the proper

^ The best kind, I am informed, is of a pink or rather terra-cotta shade ; but I am describing what I saw and drank.

- 1 may note here that Mr. Franklin WTiite of Bulawayo afterwards informed me that it was a common belief in Rhodesia that Kaffir beer was made towards the East Coast by first chewing the millet and spitting it into a gourd, and that when he was in the United States of Columbia, South America, he was told that Chicha was there made in a similar way out of maize. Compare the making of Kava in the South Seas. A friend learned in Bantu customs informs me this is not the way in which " moa " ( = pombi) is made in British Central Africa. There is a good description of the process in Barnes' Nyanja Vocabu- lary, s.v. " Moa."