Humphreys Chipeta, an 11-year-old boy and defending champion in a drinking contest on Monday died during the final stage.
Malawi24 reported that the boy died after drinking five bottles of kachasu at a beer-drinking contest in Mzimba in the northern part of the country.
Kachashu which is brewed in poor urban residential areas of Malawi is described by South African need website, IOL, as an illegal traditional distilled beverage.
The competition had different age groups – for those aged under 14, those below 21 years, and for seniors. Winners get to pocket MK20 000 (about N10,000).
Eyewitnesses told Malawi24 that the boy had reached the finals of the contest when he collapsed. This led to suspicion.
“He was not just an amateur boozer,” said the witness, identified as Emmanuel Chirwa.
According to Chirwa, contestants paid a MK1,000 entrance fee and were required to eat before the drinking competition.
“So, he did not die because he did not eat before beginning the contest. They all ate before the contest. Something went wrong,” said Chirwa.
The child protection officer for the area, Shanks Nkhata, said he was following up the matter and would engage traditional leaders on banning the brewing of the illicit beer.
“We hear the child was in Standard 7 at Kafulufulu primary and with schools on a corona (Covid-19) break, he turned into an avid drunkard,“ Malawi24 quoted Nkhata as saying, adding that he was aware of similar other cases.
Beer drinking competitions are common in parts of Malawi.