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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. ^ http://www.kutokanet.com/issues/alcohol_drugs/Changaa.htm>
  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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5 news items

The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:22:30 -0700

KAKAMEGA COUNTY: There was joy among illicit brew drinkers in Kambiri market of Kakamega when two officers chasing after a brewer broke a leg and the other tore his lips when a motorbike they were using swung, hit a pot hole and poured them on the ...
The Star
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:37:30 -0700

AP officers have impounded 100 litres of chang'aa and arrested a suspected brewer in Karachuonyo. The changaa was packed in five 20-litre jericans. The Tuesday 8pm raid in Kendu Bay town was led by inspector Fredrick Baraza who said the suspect will ...
Citizen News
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:04:00 -0700

Ten sex workers and five chang'aa brewers have been fined a total of Ksh 270,000 by a Thika court. The accused persons pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against them and were fined Ksh 270,000. They were fined Ksh 30,000 each or be jailed for two ...


Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:56:15 -0700

Ada ancaman luas AIDS dan ketiadaan total fasilitas medis pemerintah. Dan yang paling memperburuk kehidupan umum Kibera adalah ketersediaan minuman beralkohol murah yang disebut 'Changaa'. Terkait#Kenya. Baca Juga. Juara Asal Kenya Bangga ...


Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:37:30 -0700

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