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African Beer Goddesses

By Emily Mills

Women and Goddesses are credited as the originators of beer in ancient cultures worldwide. While our culture might frame beer as a stereotypically masculine drink, the history of beer is far more complex and interesting. As we saw in ancient Sumer, women not only brewed beer but also were the primary tavern keepers. For this round of our discussion, we’ll turn our sights to the African continent to find out more about Goddesses who love to drink!

The Dogon culture of the Republic of Mali revere Yasigi as the matron of beer. She is portrayed dancing while holding a beer ladle. A figure of her appears in the photo above, and I love this image! Perhaps she is fresh from successfully brewing and can’t help but celebrate by dancing exuberantly. As with many beer related Goddesses, this is not the only function of Yasigi. She is also the Goddess of dancing and masks. Beer, dancing, and masks form an interesting continuum in relation to identity. Each of the three can alter our thinking and the perception that others have us.

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