The Drunkest Place on Earth

2012 ,    » 42 Comments

The Drunkest Place on EarthUganda is the alcoholism capital of Africa. One favorite type of booze the locals make is called waragi. Vice team is going to go make some, drink some, and hopefully not go blind.

In 2004, the World Health Organization released its global status report on alcohol and health, 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 waragi, they were interested.

But after they discovered that people were going blind and dying from drinking waragi, cut with industrial chemicals, they knew this was something they needed to taste for themselves.

Watch the full documentary now

Ratings: 6.74/10 from 31 users.

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42 Comments / User Reviews

  1. wald0

    Had to stop watching at about 16:30, I don't mind the goat being killed and eaten but watching them taunt and torture the poor thing was just too much. I grew up on a farm so I am used to the idea of life feeding on life but, we also respected life in whatever form we found it. There is something about people being in a crowd, loosing their identity to the whole, that allows them to do terrible things- drunk or not.

  2. dtkcr
  3. dtkcr

    You could'nt just fast forward that part and watch the rest of the doc?

  4. killerinside
  5. killerinside

    Waldo you hit on something very profound in my opinion. In my life I have found the crowd comment to be completely true for most people. I think it even goes beyond that with many people losing aspects of their own identity, morals, values etc. with even just a couple of people around them. Very insightful observation!

  6. AllanA
  7. AllanA

    Groupthink is not limited to Ugandan people. Just about every society on earth falls for this form of decision making one way or another. I respect VICE for showing this and don't fault them. Really it's just a sad "fact of society".

    Thanks VICE! Another great doc created by you guys!

  8. Deejay Es
  9. Deejay Es

    waldo , the kicking and taunting was part of a ritual , so i dont get u on the group mentality .
    I think Rodney King got beaten up harder then this goat .

  10. wald0
  11. wald0

    Sure i could have, I just wasn't interested enough in the documentary to do so. The point of my post was simply to point out that group mentality leads people to do things they wouldn't normally do- not to suggest that this should have been censored or left out. I grew up in the southeastern U.S. so i am very used to people drinking their own home brewed liquor, I guess that's why this wasn't very fascinating to me. I even made a few runs myself, or helped old timers do it anyway. I've only drank the stuff myself once though, that was all it took. I don't like alcahol anyway (simply a personal preference not a moral statement) but that stuff is rot gut.

  12. Matt Kukowski
  13. Matt Kukowski

    Do not blame the crowd... if one insists on being weird and thoughtless in a crowd, probably means they are ignorant to begin with. The crowd only serves to allow the coward to hide in the crowd, but a coward he is none the less.

  14. wald0
  15. wald0

    I'm not "blaming the crowd" I am bringing up a known, studied, quantified concept of psychology- namely that people will take part in things as part of a crowd that they would not and do not take part in on their own. Now we can approach this phenomenon in two ways as a society- 1.Ignore the data and evidence and assume these people are simply prone to whatever behavior is in question regardless of being in a crowd or alone 2. Take the data at its word, so to speak, and try to figure out what it is about being in a crowd that stimulates this phenomenon. I think the second approach is much more productive, after all why have the studies in the first place if we are just going to ignore the trends they identify? My best guess at why this occurrs is because just as you said, people "hide in the crowd"- in other words they literally lose thier sense of self to a degree. Once you have lost even a small part of that sense of self it becomes harder to emapathize with the perspective of a singular individual, we lose the sense that we are being scrutinized as an individual- we lose our sense of moral responsibility for our own actions. But hey, thats just a guess right- i am a chemist not a psychologist after all....

  16. TheDanishViking
  17. TheDanishViking

    We need to strike down on this dangerous drug that is destroying families all over the planet. Binge drinking is causing more violence and destruction that any other drug! Ban alcohol now!
    I am of cause just kidding guys! Cheers!
    Interesting but slightly depressing film.

  18. Eddie Briggs
  19. Eddie Briggs

    last pic of the goat .... a little strange, but all in all a very good doc

  20. TheDanishViking
  21. TheDanishViking

    "...the vice gnome..." :-)
    Look, it seems that the host is ALWAYS the real topic in Vice documentaries.

  22. wald0
  23. wald0

    That is ridiculous, if your are serious that is. Of course kicking the goat has no effect to tenderize the meat, in fact one should never frighten what you are about to kill and eat because it causes the release of certain horomones in many animals that severely lessens the quality of the meat. This seems to be most apparent concerning hogs, if you scare them just before killing them to slaughter the meat has a strange flavor. As far as bleeding a cow, its not generally done while the animal is alive. You simply kill the animal as quickly and painlessly as possible and then cut his or her throat, hang them up by their back legs- the blood will drain due to gravity as long as you don't give it time to clot. I hardly think one could compare that practice to taunting or frieghtening a living conscious creature for no reason. And the goat eating his car trim- really? I mean if a goat acting on nothing but instinct, becuase that is about all they are capable of, destroys your property what sense does it make to go and retaliate against a creature that has no idea what it has even done or why you are attacking it? It would seem to me one has some personal issues if such a creature is able to push their buttons to such a degree.
    You can try to paint me up to be some super sensitive Westerner, so far detatched from nature that the act of life feeding off life bothers me- but that is just a straw man you build. Like I said, I grew up on a farm and have slaughtered many animals and enjoyed the meat, killing an animal for its meat and other resources doesn't bother me in the slightest. But their is an intelligent, sane, humane way to go about this in which it is very possible to recognize the rights of the creature you are about to harvest and consume. It my opinion, for both ethical as well as practicle reasons, it makes sense to do so.
    As I have already explained though none of this has to do with why I turned it off instead of simply fast forwarding it- I simply didn't find the subject matter very interesting, excuse me for havng my own preferences.

  24. TheDanishViking
  25. TheDanishViking

    @Wald0 & Zatarra
    You are both missing the point. It is not about a goat. It is a story about a young boy that lives in Brooklyn (probably Williamsburg) but who is dissapointed because Woody Allen has apparently skipped town and the entire NYC went through a big process of gentrification (the big pussy-fication of the 1990'ies). Therefore he is now trying to find something "authentic". He does this by travelling to poor countries were there are no tourists. And like in any Vice documentary the real issue is whether he manages to convince himself - for a brief period of time - that he has actually discovered something "authentic". The rest of us viewers are of cause only concerned with whether we are entertained or not. The goat is not relevant.

  26. wald0
  27. wald0

    I'm not suggesting it nor hinting at it, i am stating it out right becuase it is how I felt and still feel. The subject matter simply didn't warrant enough attention for me to put up with having to be disgusted- so I turned it off. My sensibilities toward animals and animal rights are a product of the environment I grew up in, and possibly some genetic predisposition I am sure- does it really make sense for you to inform me what should digust me or offend me? Perhaps my experience in life has predisposed me to indentify with the vicim in such circumstances, is that some flaw in my character? I don't think so, I think what makes the world so grande is that we do disagree, we do see things from different perspectives- and we can respect that and even learn from one another. Your absolutely right to point out the moral flaws you did in this behavior, that was something my moral sensibilities missed because they are tuned differently than yours. I guess all I am sayng is- if you disagree state your opinion by all means, it is inherently by definition just as valid as mine but don't tell me or suggest I am pretending or holding up some pretense when I express myself, its rude and very closed minded to do so. The sequence offended me and stated that opinion or preference- what on earth is there to argue about?

  28. wald0
  29. wald0

    LOL, I agree to a large extent but could not articulate it as well as you have- bravo. I knew I disliked these particular vice docs for some reason, you put your finger on it.
    That said, the goat scene was relevant to me- I feel strongly about animal rights. If it isn't relevant to others that bothers me all in itself but I don't expect that bother to be indulged. I don't speak with moral authority, or from some sense of moral correctness- I just express my opinion for others to consider or dismiss. In my opinion that is productive moral reasoning at work, people expressing their individual points of view for others to consider and select from in order to build a more complete morality of their own. Its not about any one person or group claiming some superior moral knowledge or understanding.

  30. Jo McKay
  31. Jo McKay

    Was there a point beyond lets go to a couple places in a country in West Africa and get a taste of the regional hooch? I suppose for some that's a reason for a trip. I watched hoping to hear something about the history of alcohol to Ugandan people's culture, and how addiction slowly took over so many. I was disappointed - no culture - no history.(EX. in much of Europe pre- 19th Century copious amounts of local beers were the primary drink-because fermentation made the water safe to drink; I wondered if the same may have been true in parts of Africa?) Apparently every tribe and community in much of Uganda had it's own ancient ceremonies, dances, and spiritual rituals that have survived, for some,through resistance during all the years of colonial rulers; independence 50 years ago and arbitrary borders (North & South r very different) have produced terrible conflicts, instability, tyrant rulers (Amin, Kony). While, far as I can tell, in the pre-colonial past, alcohol was served at special ceremonies (and when visitors came) it was 'not' ever a daily occurrence... Look at just some of this regions history (pick almost any place on the continent in fact) and I'd guess that escape from reality by whatever means would not seem unreasonable or remarkable.

  32. oQ
  33. oQ

    East Africa.

  34. Jo McKay
  35. Jo McKay

    oops...looked at map...I stand corrected, thanks :)

  36. Imightberiding
  37. Imightberiding

    Although he is a grown man & I am a subscriber to VICE, I always find it difficult to watch or take seriously the subject matter at hand when they have an Icon of the "Teenager's Virgin Society" covering the story. This dude is a consummate nerd. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I just have a hard time believing the reality of those interviewed by such an off-putting character. Most of what I have seen of this "journalist" is laughable & I mean that in the sense that you laugh at him, not with him.

    I am a fan of VICE & their abstract approaches & views but this fellow just doesn't do it for me.

  38. fonbindelhofas
  39. fonbindelhofas

    ok, about the goat... im sure we have to thank the bible torture manual for this.

  40. Milosc
  41. Milosc

    VICE: A post-imperial take on documentary making

    Not made so much to inform, but to remind the viewer that he too can wipe his ass on a far away place- as long as he's got some cash- as demonstrated by misc effete Manhattonian white boy ('who isn't scared' to ruff it with dangerous looking poor people.) Insert topic

    It's like Jackass, for hipsters

  42. Shelby - The Internet Drunk
  43. Shelby - The Internet Drunk

    "But after they discovered that people were going blind and dying from drinking waragi, cut with industrial chemicals, they knew this was something they needed to taste for themselves."

    Those people are retards. They'd want to taste something that they know they can go blind and/or die from? Would they want to go blind and/or die?

  44. Muriel Elsayed
  45. Muriel Elsayed

    After reading your comment, I have decided not to watch the video, as I dont wish to see any animal put to death.

  46. Andy Adams
  47. Andy Adams

    I hate booze. There is an old saying that "God created whiskey to keep the Irish from taking over the world." In our poverty stricken Irish family, surely the escape was booze; the dead weight to the bottom of the sewer. It surely creates a pain in the family. It will take 10 generations of sobriety in order to excise this deadly sociological perversion. Through what I consider to be a miracle, my brother and I are alcohol free all of our adult life. But what is it that can replace poison to assuage the despondency of poverty and disfranchisement?

  48. batvette
  49. batvette

    Strange you assert that the animal's intellectual capacity is completely void, saying it can only act in instinct- then posit it has rights one is supposed to consider. Don't get me wrong, I don't condone needless cruelty, but this position which is all too common I find bizarre and logically fallacious. It's similar to how vegans condemn humans morally for consuming meat yet act unconcerned about carnivores and their feeding habits. Humans aren't excused because we're better than that, we should know better. Huh? If the goat is just a chewing robot that can't ever rationalize what he should or should not destroy, I fail to see why he would be able to discern pain from pleasure or life from death.
    The answer of course is that, to some extent, he can. Given time and the desire to do so I'm sure you could train goats to not chew your car up just like you can train a dog not to urinate where he pleases. Goats are known for their propensity to consume what comes near them but it could be broken if you cared to.

  50. batvette
  51. batvette

    haha, without alcohol ugly people would never get laid. I was a heavy drinker until the year 2000, haven't touched it since. I miss the fun but not the hangovers and "events".

  52. batvette
  53. batvette

    As the description clearly describes the suffering and dying of humans, that was okay. Animals however...

  54. John Rintala
  55. John Rintala

    Well, they said taste. The people who die probably have a belly full of the stuff.

  56. TheDanishViking
  57. TheDanishViking

    No. This dude is most likely from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

  58. John McMahon
  59. John McMahon

    I enjoyed the film about waragi on Vice. Some people go to the Netherlands for the weed, some go to France and California for the wine, and some go to Scotland and Kentucky for the Whiskey. As though somehow being a connoisseur is an excuse for getting loaded in a different place. Hipsters like these kids aren't just in Williamsburg. I live in the South in a city and there are PLENTY of them around. I am pretty sure that the possibility of these guys going blind or suffering any other serious problems from the waragi was pretty minimal. They had a native fixer with them who might have come up short in his payday if one of the bwana had become ill. The country moonshiner woman actually looked like she had it together. It was a nice slice of a maybe not very nice life, and there were no tribal ceremonies, or dances, or other Nat Geo edification, just people getting their waragi on. As far as that goat goes...Jesus, look where these people live. They've got the Lord's Resistance Army, genocidaires from Rwanda, bandit gangs, and countless militias and "armies" running around cutting off peoples limbs, and even engaging in cannibalism. In living memory they were ruled by Idi Amin! That village had no paved road, electricity, and even the school teachers were partying at the waragi club. I bet their dogs do not have names. It is a whole different world, and one that defies sociological analysis

  60. Margonin Ester
  61. Margonin Ester

    What a hipster LOL

  62. L H
  63. L H

    This Village must be a special case. I have been to Uganda many times but have not seen anything like this.

  64. L H
  65. L H

    The women are not "hookers", they just dress that way.

  66. TheDanishViking
  67. TheDanishViking

    I see...

  68. Asynca Feher
  69. Asynca Feher

    "Kind of isn't a vice party until something dies." LOL

  70. morsie2
  71. morsie2


  72. David Oyo
  73. David Oyo

    I am Ugandan. Uganda's typical moonshine in not adulterated with industrial chemicals nor does normal consumption of the same cause blindness or death.

  74. Fab Man Schu
  75. Fab Man Schu

    same for me

  76. Garrett Pinagel
  77. Garrett Pinagel

    I'm sure most of the typical moonshine isn't adulterated on purpose with industrial chemicals. However, if you don't distill liquor properly it can produce significant amounts of methanol. You could probably imagine how some liquor is accidently contaminated with methanol when it's distilled over a campfire in industrial grade barrels.

  78. Manu
  79. Manu

    So actually the saying should be: "God created whiskey to keep the Irish on this world."

  80. winston
  81. winston

    Even the dogs look drunk in that village.

  82. AJWR
  83. AJWR

    That reporter is so cringeworthy. He has absolutely no social skills to speak of and he fails to make any connection with the audience least of all the Ugandans. I guess one of the prerequisites of his job was to have such and such a degree from such and such a university. But seriously anyone could have done a better job than him.

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