A Respectable Chew?: Highs and Lows in the History of Kenyan Khat

  • Neil Carrier


The announcement in July 2013 that the British government was to ban the substance known globally as khat or qat caused much controversy both in the United Kingdom and in East Africa, where the substance is a major cash-crop for farmers in Kenya and Ethiopia. While there is great demand for khat among the many Somalis now living in the diaspora, there has also been growing concern over its use, and a concerted campaign from within and beyond the Somali community finally resulted in the ban. This is only the latest chapter of a story that illustrates well many of the ambiguities in the recent history of drug and alcohol use in Africa and elsewhere, especially that generated by the apparent conflict between concern for the well-being of consumers and concern for the revenue such substances can bring. 1


British Government Social Harm Kenyan Government African History Somali Community 
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Copyright information

© Gernot Klantschnig, Neil Carrier, and Charles Ambler 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil Carrier

There are no affiliations available

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