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Schnapps gin from modernity to tradition

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Chapter Summary

This final chapter examines two developments: the confinement of Dutch gin to the sphere of traditional ritual and chiefly power, in actual West African practice as well as in the gin producers' marketing strategies; and the challenge of West African born-again Christianity to the traditional use of gin. It draws out the gradual change from gin as a drink that signified modernity and access to the international world, to a drink that signifies local, traditional culture, and connected to this the restriction of the use of gin from being a commodity that was used in a number of different ways and contexts, to a good the use of which is restricted to the ritual context. The chapter also explores the limitations of efforts to fix the meaning of schnapps gin through marketing, and concludes that African meanings were more important than European distillers’ advertising campaigns.

Keywords: African meanings; marketing strategies; schnapps gin; West African born-again Christianity



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