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4 - De-racializing the Liquor Laws

Temperance, Wine and the Consumption of Race, 1928–1964

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2024

Paul Nugent
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

The chapter begins with a paradox, namely that the liquor laws were liberalised in the early 1960s at precisely the moment when the apartheid regime was becoming distinctly illiberal. It argues that part of the reason was that the temperance movement had failed to reproduce itself generationally while its influence on the National Party government was marginal. Moreover, Afrikaner nationalists hitched wine to the bandwaggon of cultural nationalism. Successive commissions of enquiry targeted excessive drinking amongst the Coloured population, but attempts to extend the reach of racialised prohibition stalled. Indeed, the racial provisions of the 1928 Liquor Act were repealed in 1962, following the Malan Commission which maintained that the law was being routinely flouted. After a heated parliamentary debate the law was amended such that that wine could be purchased by all South Africans. Moreover, the distribution became freer with the creation of grocers’ licences for wine and promises of intervention to reverse vertical integration in the liquor industry. This outcome signalled a defeat for temperance interests and pointed to the greater influence wielded by the wine lobby.

Type
Chapter
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Race, Taste and the Grape
South African Wine from a Global Perspective
, pp. 128 - 147
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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