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Changaa or Chang'aa (literal meaning "kill me quick"[1]) is an alcoholic drink which is popular in Kenya. Distilled from grains like millet, maize and sorghum, it is very potent. Its production and distribution is controlled in many cases by criminal gangs like the Mungiki. Gang violence in the Nairobi slum of Mathare escalated after local brewers asked another gang to intervene against the Mungiki when they increased their "tax" on the drink.[2]

Illegally brewed changaa could be purchased for around US$0.15[3] to $0.25[1] per glass. The drink is sometimes adulterated by adding substances like jet fuel, embalming fluid or battery acid, which has the effect of giving the beverage more 'kick'.[1][4] Drinkers have suffered blindness or death due to methanol poisoning.[3] In Nairobi slums like Korogocho, the water used to make the drink is often contaminated with feces, and women's underwear along with decomposing dead rats have been found in the drink during police raids.[1]

The Kenyan government legalised the traditional home-brewed spirit in 2010, in an effort to take business away from establishments where toxic chemicals are added to the brew to make it stronger.[5] Under the new law, changaa must be manufactured, distributed and sold in glass bottles, and retailers must display health warning signs. Sale to individuals under age 18 is still prohibited, as is sale through automatic vending machines. Anyone making or selling adulterated changaa risks penalties of five million shillings, five years in jail, or both.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "African Moonshine: Kill Me Quickly". The Economist. 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  2. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey (2006-11-10). "Chased by Gang Violence, Residents Flee Kenyan Slum". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  3. ^ a b Harding, Andrew (2002-09-20). "Life after dark in Nairobi's slum". BBC News. 
  4. ^ "Chang’aa - Jet fuel 'makes brew stronger'". News 24.com. April 14, 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Kenya moves to end ban on changaa home brew". BBC News. 2010-02-10. 
  6. ^ "Chang'aa now legal but must be bottled". The Standard (Kenya). Retrieved 2010-10-03. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changaa — Please support Wikipedia.
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109 news items

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 04:49:38 -0800

In the slums of Kenya, "changaa" is a popular alcoholic drink, and brewing the grog is a source of livelihood for many. Changaa, which literally means "kill me quickly", has a high alcohol content. But it's often adulterated with other more poisonous ...
BBC News
Thu, 02 Sep 2010 06:17:17 -0700

Kenya's president has signed into law a bill which legalises the traditional home-brewed spirit changaa. The Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill is partly intended to stop people from dying after drinking adulterated moonshine. The BBC's Angela Ny'endo in ...


Mon, 02 Mar 2015 09:26:15 -0800

Чангаа (Changaa) – кенийский самогон и один из самых дешевых алкогольных напитков в мире. Наибольшую популярность чангаа приобрела в африканских трущобах. Употребление чангаа чрезвычайно губительно для организма и алкоголики, ...
Tue, 21 May 2013 02:21:23 -0700

Elgeyo Marakwet county has been rated as one of the leading in consumption and manufacture of chang'aa and busaa. The government has threatened to arrest parents who allow their children to engage in brewing and consumption of traditional brews.
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Thu, 09 May 2013 01:00:20 -0700

The government plans to help Changaa and Busaa dealers to form cooperatives and get funding to establish quality, healthy and well packaged traditional liquor. The plan will be implemented by the National Agency for Campaigns Against Drugs and Alcohol ...

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Wed, 07 May 2014 12:22:14 -0700

Our correspondent says such liquors are often known locally as "changaa" or "kumi kumi" and most villages will have a producer who is usually illicit. In a move to regulate the trade in 2010 the government allowed production as long as it was ...

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Sun, 09 Feb 2014 16:56:15 -0800

They are drinking both busaa and changaa, a locally brewed spirit distilled from grains like millet or maize. There have been deaths and blindness from drinking changaa, which is sometimes mixed with methanol or other chemicals. A busaa brewer in ...
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Tue, 09 Sep 2014 02:58:53 -0700

A healthy Kenyan student was quarantined at a Russian hospital for 11 days on suspicion she was infected with the Ebola virus. After 11 days in isolation, she was cleared and is now back in class. Beatrice Mutave, a 21-year-old medical student from ...

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