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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the language of miraa consumption, the process of consumption and describes three different types of consumption: traditional/ceremonial, functional and recreational. Miraa is used in many different ways in many different contexts: to mention just a few, it is used by Meru in brideprice negotiations, by devotees of the Sheikh Hussein in spirit possession ceremonies, by militia in Mogadishu and by Somalis relaxing in a terrace house in Manchester. The chapter describes the variety in patterns of miraa use and the variety of people who constitute its consumers. Miraa is somewhat frowned upon by many in ‘mainstream’ Kenyan society, and so chewing can be imbued with daring and defiance, and hence upoa. Upoa surrounding miraa make a takssin seem congruous with the latest FUBU brand clothing, and even the latest gangsta rap songs. Thus, miraa is integrated into the lives of many Kenyan youth permeated by external influences.

Keywords: brideprice negotiations; chewing; Kenyan youth; Manchester; miraa consumption; Mogadishu; Sheikh Hussein; Somalis; spirit possession ceremonies; upoa



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