I have been trying to remember where exactly I was, and what exactly I was doing, the last time I heard that Sauti Sol were coming to Malawi. I am a huge fan of the boyband – can I call them a boyband? and I really wanted to see them perform live.
I, however, am not a big fan of festivals (yikes, yes I am a boring homebody), and I did not find spending my weekend at the lake with thousands of strangers was a worthwhile endeavor.
Dave and I still tried to go, but failed to get any good accommodation, and ended up staying at home. I paid for my little sister to go and enjoy the experience for me. By her word, Sauti Sol, and the whole festival, was amazing!
So when I heard that Castel Malawi were bringing Sauti Sol back to Malawi for their beer launch last Friday, Martse‘s “Mowa Wanga Uli Kuti“ started playing in my head. It did not matter where this time. All I knew was that I had to be there!
I started drinking alcohol when I was 16 years old. I felt it right that we start the conversation off here. I started drinking in Uni when I was pursuing Business Management. I drink alcohol – and enjoy my drinks, every so often.
Growing up in a largely Christian community, I noted a lot of stigma towards drinking and partying. I grew up in a rather liberal family, where both my parents enjoy their drinks; and do support us, their children, having fun – while being responsible of course. I also come from a Catholic family, so growing up, I never saw alcohol as a bad thing.
It has been amusing meeting and learning from different kinds of people, with differing backgrounds, and views on the intake of alcohol.
My favorite drink is Savanna Loco, seconded by Savanna Dark, and in desperate times (because the other two drinks are almost a luxury), Savanna Dry. I find Savanna light simply offensive. The drink tastes like smoke – just no.
I have a very high tolerance for alcohol. If I am feeling like having spirits (on a wild night out), I will opt with Jaegermeister, paired with some RedBull. We tried counting one night, and I can go as far as 16 shots of Jager, and still be sane. If I am feeling even more adventurous, I will go for some tequila – but that’s as far as I am willing to push it. I have tried, and failed miserably, to tolerate whiskey in my life.
I looove trying out cocktails. My favorite are margaritas. I have had the best margaritas at Sarova Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa, Latitude 13 Hotels, and Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe. I note that most barmen struggle in balancing the proportions of lime and tequila.
Beers are not my thing. I was in no way excited to taste the beer on Friday, but still took my chances for the knowledge. I am not, and may never be, a beer person. However, I did not mind the taste of this beer. It had no aftertaste, something that bothers me about most beers.
My boyfriend is much a whiskey person. On occassion, he will opt for a Heineken. The first thing he did was ask me to check whether the Castel Beer was a malt or a lager. I did not even know there was such a variation in beers. The difference comes in the ingredients and method of distillation.
A Malt beer is a sweet, low-alcohol beer (0–2.5%) that is brewed like regular beer but with low or minimal fermentation. To keep the alcohol content low, one of two methods may be used: either the yeast is added at about 0 °C (resulting in an alcohol content of under 0.5% ABV) or fermentation is halted at the desired alcohol content (usually in the range of 1 to 2% ABV). It is made from barley malt syrup, sugar, yeast, hops, and water. Malt beer, also sometimes known as Ale, is considered to be nutritious and is sometimes given to nursing mothers.
For the average beer drinker, the difference between a malt and a lager comes down to how the beer looks, smells, and tastes. Malts tend to be fruity-estery, while lagers are clean-tasting and frequently described as “crisp.”
To a brewer, the difference is more fundamental than that. It’s not color, or flavor, or aroma, or hop/grain/malt varietals or even water hardness that separates a lager from a malt. Simply put, lagers use an entirely different type of yeast during fermentation. All of the knock-on effects; from different flavors and aromas to decreased fermentation temperatures — arise from this difference. You’ll hear some beer pedants describe the difference as “top-fermenting” (malt) vs. “bottom-fermenting” (lager) yeast, which is generally accurate, but useless to those who have no interest or experience with brewing.
I was getting my education about beer on, and now wanted to know more about this beer. Is it good? Is it not?
The invite clearly specified that it was an African Print Party, and I remember freaking out for a split second about what I was going to wear. Then, I remembered, the abundance of African Print clothes I own from Mayamiko Designed, and got to searching.
I was going to wear some green shorts; but settled on a jumpsuit that I have owned for over a year now. My reasoning was simple – do you want to stand out, or blend in? My choice was stand out, and pink (jumpsuit) won this round. Sauti Sol were clearly feeling my fit too!
Now when we had a couple of drinks; we made our way to the Marquee which accommodated nearly 1,500 guests. I was a bit unsure of the choice of venue, and was pleasantly surprised to note that it could take up son many people! If you are trying to have an event – be it corporate, entertainment or a wedding, you should totally consider the Sunbird Marquees which are now are available at nearly all their hotels in the country.
The event was hosted by Patience Namadingo, a renowned artist in Malawi. There was much controversy on Social Media, regards his hosting of the event; as he has been known majorly for making and performing gospel music. With reference to an interview I had with him a few months ago, he said he is liberal, and his next album will have 70% neutral topics in his music. I find him super chill, and loved that he took a challenge to host an event about alcohol; even when he does not drink himself.
I noted that he struggled with the hosting duties. I personally would never put myself up for hosting an entertainment event. It is deeply challenging trying to engage people who are drinking and simply want to have a good time – something that I know Patience to be good at. An entertainment host would have done a much better job; but I still commend Patience for taking up the challenge.
We had Edgar and Davis, Giddes Chalamanda, and Sauti Sol on the line up; and I was really excited about the night unfolding.
We arrived around 1810hrs and went straight to the VIP party by the poolside. We grabbed two beers from the open bar and proceeded to mingle with the rest of the invitees.
Dave remained committed to his lager. He was however of the opinion that a malt lover would most likely enjoy the Castel Beer.
Q was not too convinced with the “4%” that the drink claims to have on the bottle. He said it tasted a little lighter than that.
Hazel Mak commented that it was a rather heavy beer.
Zilanie was so thrilled, and said that she loved the beer. She, in fact, said that she prefered it to the renowned Carlsberg beer.
Ben W said that the beer is soft to the palate and tastes great. He, also, was also not convinced of the 4% ABV claim, but thinks it is a great beer that would compete fairly well with most East-African Brands.
Personally, I was not converted (yet), and I remain a happy cider drinker. I did, however, enjoy the event and obviously remain a supporter of locally made products. Yes to job creation! I believe all the beer drinkers are pleased with more variation on the market.
Sauti Sol, the African kings, took the night away and I personally had nothing short of a blast. I have been a fan on Sauti Sol since I heard “Melanin” following a recommendation from my friend Tawanda. My love for them was cemented by Dave who also loves them. “Short n Sweet” is our song, and we had the best time dancing to it live.
You are loved in Malawi Sauti Sol. Please come back soon.
All my love,
Photos (branded on the bottom right) by Kay Phanga +265 999 00 46 67
Other photos by
Johnny from Cine City Media +265 888 41 01 10
Neddie from Black Ace Photography +265 996 92 62 72