This series looks back on the history of drugs and other psychotropic drugs in Africa. It intends to give a historical dimension to questions that are often addressed only in their dimensions medical, legal or moral.
(Africa4)- This series looks back on the history of drugs and other psychotropic drugs in Africa. It intends to give a historical dimension to questions that are often addressed only in their dimensions medical, legal or moral. # 1
Khat (or qat) is widely known in France. Yet it is consumed in many countries in East Africa (mainly in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda) or Yemen where he is one of the main crops. The plant has far exceeded its original st region and now cultivated in South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar.
The early history of khat is uncertain. Existing in the wild in the highlands of Ethiopia, we know that there is consumed in the eleventh century before its use from spreading in the Red Sea region. Another explanation would come from Yemen khat and its use as a stimulant of Afghanistan. Anyway, khat appears to have been consumed regularly in Yemen to Ethiopia as early as the fourteenth century.
Khat as sold is in the form of leaves and stalks that are chewed like coca leaves betel. Cathinone contained in its leaves gives fairly similar effects of a strong coffee or amphetamines. It is not uncommon for matatu drivers, minibus on c o te Kenyan chew khat to focus for example. Known for cutting hunger, he is also responsible for constipation and insomnia if consumed in large quantities even if it does not lead to dependency phenomena. Often used by men as a group, khat plays a role in the socialization of young people either in Kenya or Uganda. If you find yourself in an evening with young Kenyans, there is a good chance that one of them chew khat. In sum, khat is both used in the work environment but also in a goal RecR éatif.
In Madagascar, the consumption of khat came with immigrants from Yemen to the colonial period. This habit gradually taken over by the North of the island taxi drivers, has slowly spread in the younger segments of the population of the region from the 1990s Both social and geographical cliché, consumption Khat is always seen as that of a North idle youth of the island by more affluent people from the rest of Madagascar. The fact remains that, as in Kenya, chewing khat is a generational phenomenon. An example of this trend is the presence of khat plant in some rums.
Khat is never really became a substance consumed across the planet like yet also a native of coffee highlands of Ethiopia. One reason is that, once harvested, khat has to be consumed within 48 hours otherwise it loses its effect. The advent of air travel in the twentieth century has changed that. Thus it is possible to find in London today khat from Ethiopia or Yemen which is explained by the presence of immigrant communities of these regions.
Revenues generated by khat are such that farmers sometimes make the choice to plant khat trees instead of other crops such as coffee more dependent on world prices and government policies. It is still possible to grow food crops between the rows of trees that can provide leaves and stems every three weeks. Requiring low investment whether in labor or money, khat cultivation is profitable. Whether in Kenya or Madagascar, khat has become a "green gold" like cannabis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 1960s and 1970s also saw the explosion in consumption in countries such as Kenya and many varieties at different prices and qualities have been put on the market.
Khat as many psychotropic drew the attention of the authorities. A Yemeni treats the sixteenth century has tried to compare khat with alcohol, opium and hashish and eventually concluded that khat was lower than these substances. Kenya's colonial authorities also attempted to limit its use to certain populations (Meru Nyambene) accusing the khat to be responsible for the inactivity of some Kenyans. A colonial relationship to Djibouti in 1959 makes khat responsible for the "degeneration of the race." In general, the historical sources available for the late colonial period in Kenya suggest that the prohibition had no other effect than to feed the black market.
Today, Western countries tend to ban khat treating it as a narcotic, the latest being the UK in June 2014. In the largest producer countries, khat is not prohibited. Yet the debate about the dangers of khat whether for mental or physical health of its users are still present especially when its use is combined with the intake of alcohol or marijuana. Watermark, also reads a debate on the economy of those countries where small producers can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the "green gold".
Translated through Google by Medeshi