Meet the deadly and illegal alcoholic brews of Africa

Alcohol-related harm is determined by the volume of alcohol consumed, the pattern of drinking, and, on rare occasions, the quality of alcohol consumed according go the World Health organisation (WHO) .

It is the quality of alcohol however that has proven to be the biggest problem for a large swath of Africa’s alcohol consuming populace as majority of consumers prefer local brews most of which are illegal and ultimately-deadly. Infact it is estimated that half of the alcohol consumed in Africa is illegal.

The continent has a long love affair  with its own unique brews which were traditionally fermented and not distilled.

Business Insider SSA looks at some of the most potent brews from across the continent.

Kumi-Kumi aka Chang’aa aka “Kill me quick”

This potent brew is the choice for thousands in Kenya’s slums and has recorded almost 200 deaths from its inappropriate consumption. It has been known to be distilled with a mixture of methanol, fecal matter and other substances to give it an extra kick .


Popular in Mozambique, it is derived from sorghum,bran corn and sugar and normally should not be harmful. Unfortunately a lack of attention to its distillation can lead to a substance that kills mercilessly. Again Methanol has proven to be a favourite ingredient. Phombe once killed 71 people after consumption of a tainted batch.

Atemuda aka “Judgement Day”

This is found in Ghana and its base is the popular “akpeteshie” ,a substance derived from distilled sugar cane or palm wine and popular for its high levels of alcohol. It metamorphoses into “Judgement Day” after marijuana is added to the brew.

Laela Mmago aka “Goodbye Mum

Botswana carries the cup in naming these deadly brews with several types available in the South African country. Aside the above named  Lela Mmago there is “tho-tho”, (the dizzy spell), a lala fa (you sleep right here), “chechisa” (hurry up) and motes o teng godimo (there is home in heaven).

Kasiki aka “I regret”

The name speaks for itself and this can be found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Waragi aka The War Gin

The mild form of this spirit is produced for export but it is the traditionally produced version that is to be feared. Its production is outlawed but that has not halted its popularity. It once accounted for the death of 80 people in Uganda.


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