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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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81 news items

Thu, 16 Apr 2015 06:18:45 -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 ...
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 ...

FOCUS Online

FOCUS Online
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 07:49:48 -0700

Traditionelle Medizin ist in vielen Teilen Afrikas verbreitet. In Kenia schwören Kranke auf alkoholische Getränke zur Behandlung. Warnungen der Ärzte schlagen sie in den Wind. Selbst Kinder bekommen Bier und Chang'aa-Schnaps. Das kann gefährlich ...
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 ...
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.

BBC News

BBC News
Tue, 06 May 2014 14:07:27 -0700

The drink is often known locally as "changaa" or "kumi kumi". To prevent death from these liquors Kenya's government has tried to force backyard brewers into the open. A bill was passed in 2010 to regulate production by legalising it, but requiring ...
The Standard Digital News
Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:15:00 -0700

The lady serves the best changaa in East and Central Africa, and the best thing is that only I, and a handful of my friends know about it. I staggered out of her den humming a freedom song when the son of man appeared in front of me. I mean, I did not ...

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