It’s a typical Cape winter morning — weather for cocoa, not cola — when I meet South Africa-born academic Sara Byala at the eclectic Obz Books for the launch of Bottled: How Coca-Cola Became African.

Like the product at the centre of her book, Byala is effervescent and a little enigmatic: young and spirited, but also pensive — qualities that suit a historian, especially one of the longue durée approach that seeks out imperceptible trends and impacts across centuries. ..

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