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Illustration by Nathi Ngubane

For the Love of Khat

What you need to know about khat—East Africa's favorite drug.

This June a Somali-American woman named Zemzem Seraj was charged by Nashville Police with felony possession of nearly 200 pounds of khat. Her mugshot—a middle aged Tennessean in an elegant seafoam headscarf—was broadcast all over local news.

Sometimes called "tea of the Arabs," khat acts as a stimulant when chewed. The flowering plant is banned in most western countries including United States and some European countries but is popular and legally consumed in the the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Many contend that khat use goes back thousands of years, arguing that it's a perfectly safe drug when used in moderation. Others, including many from communities that use it the most, believe that it can cause major harm.

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Arts + Culture

Black Lives Matter Meets Greek Tragedy: Behind the Powerful Play 'Kill Move Paradise' at The National Black Theater

Playwright James Ijames, Director Saheem Ali and Actor Sidiki Fofana tell us why 'Kill Move Paradise' is spurring audiences to action.

New York—The National Black Theater in Harlem closed its 2017 season with a production of “Kill Move Paradise.”

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Arts + Culture

In Conversation: The Founder of Afrobytes Tells Us Why the World Needs to Focus on African Tech

We talk to Haweya Mohamed, one of the founders of Afrobytes, about the work they're doing and what kinds of tech innovations Africa can offer the world.

PARIS—Afrobytes is a technology conference for Africa co-founded by Haweya Mohamed and Amin Youssouf with the ambition of being a technological innovation hub between Africa and the rest of the world and to extend a marketplace for African technologies.

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News

A Garissa Survivor On Her New Life in Italy And Her Message to Fellow Kenyans

Two years after surviving the massacre at Garissa, this Kenyan student tells us about recovering from trauma and her plans to spread peace.

It’s been 2 years since Cynthia Cherotich witnessed 147 of her classmates killed by Al-Shabaab militants at Garissa University in northern Kenya. She survived the massacre by hiding in a cupboard under a pile of clothes—only emerging two days after the attack. Today, Cherotich is completing her studies at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia in Italy and considering a career in Kenyan politics.

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