‘Khat’ comeback allows Somalis to chew on

London (KON) - Business for women sellers of stimulant banned by al-Shabab has boomed since the armed group was driven out.
Article Keydmedia Online
‘Khat’ comeback allows Somalis to chew on


The mood is tense. A group of young men, some in soldier’s uniforms, gather near empty market stalls in this small town 30km west of Mogadishu, the capital. Standing silently, their eyes stare blankly into the distance.

Not far away, a large group of women in colourful hijabs stand in the scorching sun. Both groups are waiting for the daily delivery of khat. Also known as qat, the plant is a mild stimulant, chewed mainly by men and sold by women in Somalia.

A few minutes later, a minibus appears far off in the distance. The tense atmosphere changes to one of excitement. The women rush back and forth, wet woolen sacks in their hands. Smiles replace the looks of concern on their faces.

The women, known as khat ladies, sell the bitter-tasting leaves to anyone willing to pay $18 for a kilogram. In Afgoye, there are plenty of takers.

The arrival of the minibus means the men of the town will have khat to chew and the women will get paid. There are more than 200 khat ladies in this small riverside town alone, and most of the men here spend their evenings chewing the green leaves, which were imported by plane from Kenya.

As the minibus comes to a stop, some of the young men become overeager, firing gunshots in the air. This doesn

Article 21 May 2021 10:14

I read your article on Foreign Policy with keen eyes and interest. While whining from public officials does not deserve response from any sensible citizen of the Republic of Somalia, I felt compelled to counter false narrative with more objective analysis.