Uganda’s Waragi (Moonshine) Epidemic

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The VICE crew hang out with the locals where they make and drink alcohol with them. “Uganda is the alcoholism capital of Africa. One favourite type of booze the locals make is called Waragi.” They discovered that people were going blind and dying from drinking a dangerous version of it that is cut with industrial chemicals.

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Published in 2012

Viewing Time: 35 minutes


“Ugandans are the hardest drinking Africans in the motherland, both in terms of per capita consumption and the hooch they choose to chug. Waragi, or ‘war gin’, is what they call the local moonshine, and it makes the harshest Appalachian rotgut taste like freaking Bailey’s.”

“In 2004, the World Health Organization released its global status report on alcohol and health [PDF], finding Uganda as the top contender for per capita alcohol consumption in the world. Since 2011, the numbers have only increased. Basically making Uganda the drunkest place on earth. So when Vice heard about Uganda’s countrywide production of a type of moonshine called for Waragi, we were interested. But after we discovered that people were going blind and dying for drinking Waragi cut with industrial chemicals, we knew this was something we needed to taste for ourselves.”

Screenshot from Uganda's Waragi Moonshine Epidemic

“Yes, they drink waragi every day. There are those who can’t go a day without it.”


“In 1965, Ugandan Parliament enacted the Enguli Act, requiring a license for bringing and distillation of all locally produced alcohol. But for really obvious reasons, the Enguli Act has never been successfully enforced, as unlicensed production of waragi rampantly persists across the country.”

“In April 2010, more than 80 people died after drinking waragi contaminated with high amounts of methanol over a three week period in the Kampala district. It’s like when drug dealers stamp out their supply, and they put filler in it.”

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