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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:What 's in a Drink? Class Struggle, Popular Culture and the Politics of 'Akpeteshie' (Local Gin) in Ghana, 1930-1967
Author:Akyeampong, EmmanuelISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic terms:Ghana
Great Britain
Subjects:political conflicts
alcoholic beverages
History and Exploration
Politics and Government
Economics and Trade
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/183184
Abstract:This article examines the history of 'akpeteshie' (local gin) in Ghana from its illicit origins and widespread distillation in the 1930s to about 1967, when the Convention People's Party - seen as the 'champion' of the 'akpeteshie' industry - was overthrown. 'Akpeteshie' distillation proliferated when temperance interests succeeded in pressuring the colonial government into raising tariffs on imported liquor in 1930. It threatened the government's prior dependence on revenue from imported liquor, raised the spectre of crime and disorder, compromised colonial concerns about urban space, exposed the weakness of colonial rule and eventually led the British government into the embarrassing diplomatic position of seeking an alteration of the Saint Germain Convention of 1919 that had banned commercial distillation of spirits in the African colonies. By the 1940s, 'akpeteshie' had emerged as an important symbol of African grievances under colonial rule. It became entwined in nationalist politics, and its legalization was one of the first legislative acts passed by the independent Ghanaian government. But the overwhelming African support for 'akpeteshie' as an indigenous drink aside, the drink conjured an image of class and popular protest that divided Ghanaian society. Notes, ref., sum.