My Grandfather and his beer: Tall, strong, undeniably African


My late grandfather and his favorite beer were alike: tall, strong, and undeniably African. Well, that’s one way to describe a raging alcoholic. He had seven children, who, thanks to the tall brown, bottle, he could not financially cater for.  Do not get it wrong, I adore my grandfather, and would not replace him for anything in the world.

However, if I could, I would gladly skip the generational trauma alcoholism brought along. (Get ready for the plot twist of a lifetime, later on!)

Freedom is an attribute of man that enables him to independently direct his own actions and achieve a given goal through his intellect and will. Responsibility refers to a sense of duty and accountability towards said actions.

My favourite quote from St. Josemaria’s famous teachings on freedom and responsibility is, “Love your children’s freedom and teach them how to use it”.  He explains how parents should give room for children to be independent while also educating them on God’s word in relation to freedom and responsibility. This is an ideal situation. My father and his siblings definitely did not experience such teachings from their alcoholic father. In fact, many young Kenyans certainly do not experience the ideal situation. In addition, alcoholism is becoming a culture in Kenya and does not discriminate on age or gender.

Therefore, when parents misuse their freedom and become irresponsible role models, should their children blame them? Should Gen Z blame the millennials? Should young people use this misfortune as an opportunity to become alcoholics?

Certainly not.


No one is to blame… except ourselves. Every human being’s life is determined by how they exercise their own freedom and account for their responsibilities, despite any unfavourable events.

Remember the plot twist I promised? Fast forward to my father getting his first job, he got recruited to work as an accountant for a company. What company you might ask?

East African Breweries Plc. (Dear reader, I realize that this may seem to be too incredible of a coincidence, but I genuinely wish I made this up).

The son of a good man who struggled with alcoholism gets employed to work in the biggest alcohol distributing company at the time. Is this what people call fate? His generational trauma did affect the relationship with his father, but fortunately, my father did not end up like his father.  He chose to use his freedom responsibly. To date, he has never had a sip of beer. As I write this, I cannot help but smile at the irony!

In conclusion, I would urge anyone reading this to follow the teachings of St. Josemaría on self-control and learn to drink responsibly especially as the holiday season is approaching. Temperance helps us appreciate the need to control anything we consume, so that we do not become slaves to what we eagerly sought to enjoy. Let us all strive to live life to the fullest and exercise our freedom in a responsible manner.


This blog post won first position in the 2022 Founder’s Week blog competition.


This article was written by Ng’ang’a Lynnete Wanjira.

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