Students in Zimbabwe Are Making Beer With Breakfast Cereal

Authorities have banned cereal and oatmeal in certain schools because students were using them to get drunk.

Nick Rose

Nick Rose

Photo via Flickr user Christian Cable

Resourceful students in Zimbabwe have found a pretty elaborate solution to the age-old problem of getting drunk in high school.

Tennyson Hlabangana High School, a boarding school in the Matabeleland South region of Zimbabwe, have banned breakfast cereals because students have been using them to make beer.

READ MORE: This Is the Science Behind Your Soggy Cereal

According to Zimbabwe's Chronicle newspaper, students have been mixing cereal with brown sugar, water, and yeast, which they then leave in the sun to ferment and create "a potent alcoholic mixture which the students drink right under the noses of school authorities.

The practice was apparently so widespread that the school's administration has had ban cereal altogether, and the Chronicle reports that other schools in the area are following suit.

In addition to oatmeal, school authorities have banned Morvite, a powdered, pre-cooked porridge of the "just add water" variety. One parent told the Chronicle that they received a message urging them "not to buy Morvite when buying groceries for our children. After conducting our investigations we established that the cereal was being fermented into alcohol."

This method of getting drunk at school may be more labour-intensive than using a fake ID, but it seems to be effective. Although all beer is technically made from rotten cereal, doing it this way could particularly dangerous. "The danger of doing this is that there is no method to control the alcohol content," chemist Michael Dube told the Zimbabwean paper. "Their beer might have high alcohol levels, which may be a threat to their health."

And these dangers are compounded by the fact that alcohol is the drug of choice at "vuzu" parties, where teens engage in "dangerous" drug use and casual sex. Last month, Zimbabwean police cracked down on a "vuzu" party and arrested 224 teens in the city of Bulawayo. Authorities seized booze, drugs, condoms, and even a "homemade Viagra" known as umvusankunzi, obtained from a traditional healer at the party, according to Nehando Radio.