The Bum and the Khat Effect by Rooble Mohamed/ go back to Issue 5 

In khat circles there is a well known argument that once a man finishes chewing he suddenly gets an uncontrollable urge to be with and around beautiful women. They call it the kac sii tuf theory, or K.S.T. for short. For most chewers, of course, this is a simple fantasy that is unlikely to ever be fulfilled. But for Ali BM things were different.

In Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland as in many other parts of Africa, men that drive their own cars and are known to have a bit of money are always popular with the ladies. Ali BM was such a man.

Today—like every day—he was chewing in his usual place. He looked at his bag of khat and noticed that he was almost running out. He wanted to top up his supply and maybe stick around for an hour or two more. Alas he knew his reputation and good name would suffer if he were spotted still chewing at such a late time! After struggling with his thoughts and cravings for a few minutes he finally decided to give up and head home.

Once home, he had a quick bath, changed into his nicest pair of trousers, put on his best shirt, and then showered himself with his most expensive bottle of perfume. Ali was planning to go out to dinner with a beautiful lady. Initially, it was not clear if such behavior was due to the K.S.T theory or if Ali had planned this dinner in advance! However, once he was in his car and started to drive aimlessly around the Hargeisa streets, it became obvious that Ali was planning to randomly pick his queen tonight.

This was Ali’s lucky night. It was dark, cloudy and rainy. People were scampering along the sidewalks and trying to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. Ali, on the other hand, was cruising and looking out for suitable prey. Since all the people were walking ahead of him and he had no chance to check out their faces on such a dark night, Ali had to adjust his criteria for choosing his lady tonight.

“They’ll all have to be judged on the state of their bottoms,” he said to himself and started chuckling.

The rain was a godsend and Ali had a perfect chance to assess all the candidates as they scurried to the nearest shelter. Some resembled flags fluttering in the wind. Others reminded him of wobbling jelly. Some bottoms looked like a couple of badminton shuttlecocks whilst others looked like a pair of satanic pumpkins!

Finally, as he scanned the roads ahead and considered the various bottoms ambling about, Ali noticed a beautiful pair of bottoms gliding around in unison. They were beautifully similar and they moved to the beat of the hip-hop song Ali had blaring from his car sound system. Left, right, left right left. Left, right, left right left. It was beautifully mesmerizing, and Ali wondered if he was still slightly intoxicated from his earlier khat session.

He thought his eyes were playing tricks on him and that he was suffering from some sort of optical illusion. Surely nothing could be so perfectly round, so symmetrical and move with such grace. What’s more, it was not just one bottom but TWO! The hallucination was still continuing, and Ali thought he spotted beauty, wisdom, virtue and intelligence in the way those two bottoms were bouncing around in the air as their owners distantly walked to their destination.

Ali started to slow down as he drew parallel with the owners of the heavenly bottoms and shouted the words “inakeena aan roobka idinka sii qaadee!” One uttered an incomprehensible exclamation, and upon hearing her gruff voice Ali got ready to hear some endless insults. Instead, she commenced to pray for him and praise him for being so kind and helpful. Ali was still uncomfortable with her husky voice and told her (and her friend) to hurry up and get in the car.

He was looking in his rear-view mirror as the car doors opened and the two new passengers got in. Ali almost chocked on his own saliva! The heavenly bottoms had beards and what he thought were dresses and hijabs turned out to be white robes and head coverings! Ali took a real good look at both men, then commenced to slam his hands against the steering wheel and laugh at his own foolishness.

“Take us to the mosque at the end of the road, brother,” said one of the heavenly bottoms. Ali nodded his head and started the car as he carried on loudly chuckling to himself.

This was a few years ago. Ali had proven that the K.S.T theory actually works but has not touched one stick of khat ever since.


Rooble Mohamed is a freelance journalist living in Hargeisa, Somaliland.