Togolese Bottle Opener Simplicity

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Togolese inebriation innovation

I love African beer. I really do. Even when bad Nigerian beer knocks me down for a week, I am always back for more.

Maybe it’s the efficiency of drinking from 1/2 liter bottles or the romance of relaxing beer-in-hand while watching Simba sex. Either way, a cold Club, Tusker, or White Cap is the only way to end a day.

That’s why I’ve always noticed how beers are opened in Africa. My preference is for the minimalist method of using one bottle to open another, a trick I use to constant amazement in the lower 48.

However, most African restaurants and bars employ boring commercial bottle openers, plain and unassuming in form and function. You have to really be on the lookout to find creative beer release mechanisms – and recently I was rewarded for my vigilance.

Having a cold beer after Togo’s National Run to the Border Day sprint to the Ghanaian border, I noticed that my server was using a non-standard bottle opener.

A first in my observance, she employed two screws in a wooden peg to pop the bottle cap on my Guinness. What simplicity, ingenuity, practicality!

I was in awe until I had a thought: What if she could use only one screw?

African bottle opener

[See more images like this on the AfriGadget Flickr group.]

Wayan Vota is part of Inveneo, a non-profit social enterprise whose mission is to get the tools of ICT into the hands of organizations and people who need them most: those in remote and rural communities in the developing world.

17 comments » Write a comment

  1. I hope Wayan doesn’t mind, but I added that other picture of the one in Kenya too. I hadn’t seen these until I was in Kenya last June. Really neat idea, and I’m glad that you put up a story on them!

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  8. In Mali, we used a door frame to open bottles more often than not (the little area that is carved out for the latch). Banging the cap aside a table also worked well. I saw flip-flops used (but could never figure that out). Also learned how to use a ring (a little painful). Surprisingly, even in some of the most remote locations, official Coca Cola bottle openers (the kind that attach to the wall), were quite common. Also more often than not, when purchasing a bottled beverage outside of a touristy facility, you were often expected to figure out on your own how to open the bottle.

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  10. try opening a beer bottle using the door frame of a car (the part of the frame that catches and holds your car door). it works with most vehicles.

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