Power of radio: Gov’t pardons ‘dakaya’ woman after callers begged for pardon

Authorities in Gogrial East County, Warrap State, say they have pardoned and released the woman who was recently sentenced to three years in imprison for brewing banned alcoholic drink locally called ‘dakaya’.

The court had also ordered Awien Manut to pay a fine of 150,000 South Sudanese Pounds for violating alcohol ban.

This caused a public outcry in the area, with some residents describing the court ruling against the 37-year-old as “heavy” and “unfair”, after the community radio broadcast her story.

Speaking to Mayardit FM, the Gogrial East County police inspector said the government listened to people’s calls because of her little children.

“We heard many people calling on Mayardit FM demanding for forgiveness and to release her,” Col. Madut Anei explained.

“As government, we have to respect people’s voices. And before we released her, she was asked to apologize, and she did.”

A very strong local brew, dakaya is made from yeast and sugar, a process that includes fermentation of the components for days before distillation.

Officials banned it due to health concerns.

During the liberation struggle (1983-2005) when men were in the frontlines, fighting the Sudan Armed Forces, some women resorted to brewing it and other traditional drinks to raise children.

Today, many argue that the current economic conditions force women to produce the drinks to meet their children’s needs, including tuition fee.