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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Kill me quick': a history of Nubian gin in Kibera
Author:De Smedt, JohanISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:alcoholic beverages
women entrepreneurs
informal settlements
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40282385
Abstract:The spread of distilled liquors in East Africa was closely associated with colonial rule, and particularly with the Nubi (Sudanese) soldiers of the colonial powers. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the British and German East African armies relied heavily on the Nubi soldiers, and their 'Nubian gin' spread with them across East Africa. Demobilized Nubi soldiers and their families settled all over East Africa in so-called 'Nubian settlements' that were established close to garrison towns and military barracks. This paper focuses on one such settlement, Kibera, located adjacent to Nairobi, Kenya, and now one of the largest slums in Africa. Kibera's proximity to army barracks and a major town created a huge market for Nubian gin, which was exploited to a considerable extent: many Nubi women became involved in producing and selling Nubian gin and the amount of money they made allowed the Nubi community to live a good life. This paper tells the story of the rise and fall of Nubian gin in Kibera. The huge influx of people of other ethnic groups into Kibera in the 1960s and 1970s had a significant impact on the production of Nubian gin. The production was reduced and, ultimately, stopped. But many Nubi women maintained their strong economic position by switching to another source of income: the rental business, using their Nubian gin profits to build more rooms in their houses. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]