Curtain falls on renown changaa, busaa tester

Tuesday, January 17th, 2023 02:30 | By
Curtain falls on renown changaa, busaa tester
Renown village changaa connoisseur safia.

Renown village changaa connoisseur has rested. For decades, Safia was an excellent and trusted busaa and changaa tester.

Her word was the sole determinant of whether your freshly brewed busaa or distilled changaa would be a hit in the market or not.

Widowed young, probably in her late 20s or early 30s, Safia lived her life testing the local brews before making an indisputable judgement. 

She was passionate about it as changaa and busaa consumers grew fond of her. She did not want to betray their trust.

Consequently, she would leave her home every morning to the nearest dens, which were well-known then. 

Busaa brewers had no other option but to make an original and tasty brew from fermentation to maturity, normally a process of about two weeks.

For changaa distillers, it would take three or more weeks to prepare. This they did to ensure Safia gave their drinks a clean bill of health lest they lose clients.

Distillers took turns to ensure Ibunjeli village in Ikolomani, Kakamega county was well stocked with the tipple every day. As age caught up with Safia, she could only do so much.

She was knocked down by a bull and lost her mobility. She was bedridden and became dependent on her grandchildren for survival.

On the morning of December 30, 2022, at 4 am, the village was woken up by the wailing that announced the death of a prominent person. Safia was laid to rest on Jan 11. Villagers will miss her dearly.

—Eric Shimoli                           

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