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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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120 news items

The Star

The Star
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 02:33:45 -0700

Did you know about Classifieds, the one-stop shop for services and items to buy and sell? Click on the links to find adverts in: Cars & Vehicles in Kenya (289,182 classifieds); Electronics in Kenya (271,196 classifieds); Property in Kenya (208,557 ...


Fri, 10 Jul 2015 14:05:34 -0700

Their mother was addicted to a highly potent bootlegged brew called changaa, a Swahili word that translates to “kill me quick.” Every morning, the mother would lock her children in the house before heading out to drink in the slum where they lived.


Sat, 25 Jul 2015 08:22:30 -0700

Whether it is called "changaa" or "kumi kumi," he should stay away from them. A bottle of Tusker beer with the young man will be enough. Now Obama is not just going to his father's homeland, he will also be going to Ethiopia. Ethiopia will give Obama a ...

The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)

The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
Sat, 11 Jul 2015 11:02:05 -0700

The solution is to create and hype another parallel industry that will sway consumers from one of alcoholic industry. “Why not give alcoholism competition from sports to movies. Are we not addicted to Man-United like changaa What of voluntary work ...

The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)

The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
Tue, 07 Jul 2015 00:13:29 -0700

... homosexuality, we can all agree that debating the issue with nausea will not protect a single Kenyan from an Al Shabbab attack, shield their primary school parking lot from a well-connected land-grabber or provide employment to a changaa addicted ...
Wed, 08 Jul 2015 11:11:15 -0700

He disclosed Mbita has recorded the highest litres of illicit drinks that include 1,527 litres of chang'aa and 14,927 litres of kangaraa followed by Rachuonyo South where 300 litres of changaa,10,345 litres of kangaraa and 12 bottles of low quality ...
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 04:34:12 -0700

In Gigiri, the OCPD, Mr Vitalis Otieno, said they had destroyed close to 7,000 litres of changaa, kang'ara and busaa. A total of 57 people have also been arrested in Makadara after they were found in possession of the alcohol. "We also impounded a ...
Tue, 07 Jul 2015 21:07:30 -0700

The man was among the many at Kamin Otina's changaa burrow eight hours ago. Shortly before this, he was among the roadside crowd that had received handouts from a politician near the village market. The day's take of Sh100 was spent on his share of ...

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