An 11-year-old boy "dropped dead" after downing five bottles of homebrew during a drinking contest for under-14s.
The tragic death left onlookers shocked as they watched the competition in the town of Mzimba, in the northern Malawi district of the same name.
Friends of the unnamed boy claimed he collapsed in the finals of the drinking contest, reports local paper Malawi24.
Described as a "keen drinker" by local press, the boy reportedly downed five bottles of Kachashu, an unlicensed traditional distilled beer which was even used as hand sanitiser by locals.
The beer-drinking contest had a prize of MWK 20,000 MWK (£20.50).
The competition was reportedly organised in three categories, under-14, under-21 and seniors.
According to the national newspaper Daily Voice, bystander Emmanuel Chirwa even expressed suspicions of foul play because the boy who died was the defending champion.
Chirwa said: “He was not just an amateur boozer.”
According to Chirwa, contestants pay 1000 MWK (1 GBP) to enter the competition and the only rule is that they must eat something beforehand.
Chirwa added: “So, he did not die because he did not eat before beginning the contest. They all ate before the contest. Something went wrong.”
Local child protection officer Shanks Nkhata reportedly said he is following up on the issue and would appeal to the local chiefs to try and ban the brewing of the illicit beer.
Nkhata said: “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.”
Boy, 12, 'starved to death and abused by parents was in state of perpetual suffering'
There is no further official information about if the government plans to intervene in underage drinking contests.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, a man also nearly lost his life during an online drinking challenge called ‘ Confinement Challenge Apero’ after downing 1.5 litres of booze and falling into a coma.
The man was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Marie Curie University Hospital in Charleroi, a city in the western Belgian province of Hainaut.
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