skokiaan, noun

Origin:
Zulu, XhosaShow more Unknown; perhaps from Zulu isikokeyana a small enclosure, with reference to the common practice of hiding containers of illicit liquor in holes in the ground; or from Xhosa koka make drunk.
1.
a. An illicit home-brewed liquor made primarily of yeast, sugar, and water. Also attributive, and combination (objective) skokiaan-seller. Cf. mbamba, skomfaan.
1908 Rand Daily Mail 11 Sept. 7Furnish the wherewithal to purchase chali or skokeyana (native intoxicants).
1926 E. Prov. Herald 7 Jan. 8The greatest difficulty the police have to deal with..is..the prevention of the brewing and drinking of skokiaan and gwebu.
a1928 R.R.R. Dhlomo Afr. Tragedy 8She approached an innocent looking ash-heap; and, after casting hurried glances round, dug quickly, and brought to the surface a small can full of Skokiaan.
1943 J. Burger Black Man’s Burden 100In many cases Europeans are behind both the illicit drink traffic and the brewing of ‘skokiaan’.
1948 E. Hellmann Rooiyard 48Four shilling’s worth of yeast and one shilling’s worth of sugar are the quantities commonly used to make two gallons of skokiaan.
1946 P. Abrahams Mine Boy (1954) 165Black policemen dug up two drums of skokiaan. They poured the foul-smelling, well-loved liquid down the drain.
1959 Drum Jan. 27Skokiaan: Made of yeast, lukewarm water, sugar and oats. Like other drinks fermented overnight, can be very damaging to the system.
1959 E. Mphahlele Down Second Ave (1965) 74Grand mother did not allow anyone to brew Skokiaan because it made the sturdiest of men violently drunk. Skokiaan is a drink made by beating compressed yeast in warm water and leaving it to ferment. It’s deadly, but there are deadlier brews.
1975 Friend 25 June 4A 37-year-old White mother of nine submitted..that she brewed 50 litres of sifted skokiaan (an illicit brew) in an attempt to get her alcoholic husband ‘off other liquor.’
1977 I. Margo in Quarry ’77 161‘No Christmas this Christmas,’ grins a skokiaan-seller.
1979 J. Gratus Jo’burgers 263Miz Bessie brewed her skokiaan from water, yeast, stale bread, over-ripe fruit, a few choice decaying leaves of lettuce or cabbage, plenty of sugar, whatever pure spirit she could buy, and just a dash of commercial carbide to give the brew that extra kick.
1980 Rand Daily Mail 7 Oct. 5Skokiaan is a witches’ brew of tartaric powder, yeast, and a rather eerie imagination.
1986 P.A. McAllister Xhosa Beer Drinks. 41Some of the illegal urban brews of the time (sc. 1938) (isikokiyana, etc.)..were much more potent because of the ingredients (carbide, brown bread, and suchlike) that went into them.
1990 Fair Lady 28 Mar. 136The home-brewed spirit ‘skokiaan’, a swig of which Aunt Sal said could knock your head right across the nation.
b. See quotation.
1963 L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 204‘Isikoivane’ (‘skokiaan’) appears to be a general term used for all drinks other than the traditional beer sold in municipal beer halls. But these drinks are sheer poison in that they are mixed with blue stone (copper sulphate), tobacco juice, dagga, methylated spirits, snakes, carbide, rats, beetles — anything to give a kick and a bite.
2. combination
skokiaan queen, a woman who brews and sells illicit liquor; cf. shebeen queen (see shebeen sense 2).
1936 Williams & May I Am Black 175The white men call me a skokiaan queen.
1946 P. Abrahams Mine Boy (1954) 232He said the only way to stop Skokiaan Queens is to make bars for black people.
1950 C. Bullock Mashona & Matabele 219Skokiaan queens defy the law, and the vile concoctions they sell sap the moral resistance of their customers and destroy decent behaviour.
1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed 211The brewer or skokiaan queen simply supervises, keeps an eye on the business and sits around chatting to customers who, if they want credit, appeal to her.
1962 M. Brandel-Syrier Black Woman 87There is always the possibility of readmission for the repentant sinner, whether the unmarried mother, the adulteress, or the Skokiaan queen.
1970 Heard & Faull Cookery in Sn Afr. 479We don’t hear too much about the skokiaan queens reigning in ‘madam’s’ backyard these days.
1979 J. Gratus Jo’burgers 261She established herself as the unrivalled leader of the skokiaan queens. Those who attempted to dispute this found their supply of drink poured out on the roadway and their hovels on fire.
1981 Frontline May 10In the days when ‘white man’s liquor’ was prohibited to blacks, shebeens..served up some pretty rough concoctions (the famous days of the skokiaan queens).
1990 G. Slovo Ties of Blood 143Many was the night he spent drinking in the homes of the skokiaan queens and never had he had a hangover such as this.
An illicit home-brewed liquor made primarily of yeast, sugar, and water. Also attributive, and combination (objective) skokiaan-seller.
See quotation.
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19081990

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