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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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98 news items

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

The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
Fri, 08 May 2015 23:33:45 -0700

Someone should tell them there is need to be equal opportunity pursuers of order. Maybe their trainers have a fixation with bars and clubs and that is why the dudes descend down to changaa dens to shake them down for a donation whenever business is ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 08:52:30 -0800

Muthei primary and mixed day secondary schools in Mwala District are set to benefit from 8 GB free internet data from Airtel Kenya in a Sh50 million grant that will benefit select primary and secondary schools in Machakos County. Airtel's Sales and ...
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 06:26:05 -0700

The 'changaa' drums he had placed on Nairobi's roundabouts were the genesis of his woes. The tailbacks caused by his plan to decongest the city infuriated Nairobians who were stuck in traffic for hours resulting to the criticisms the embattle governor ...
New York Times
Thu, 07 Jul 2005 10:24:48 -0700

Alcohol continues to flow but the torrent has slowed to a trickle after a particularly foul batch of changaa sent scores of people to the hospital here last month, killing dozens of them. Changaa owes its popularity to hard times. Name-brand liquors ...

BBC News

BBC News
Sun, 09 Feb 2014 17:05:19 -0800

Across Kenya, traditionally brewed beer, known as busaa, is popular especially in poorer communities. On a hot Sunday afternoon, Nyaleko, one of main brewers in a village in the west of the country, passes out her busaa. She has been brewing for 50 ...

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