Sierra Leone psychiatrist warns ‘ataya’ gunpowder tea induces psychosis


Ataya base in Freetown

Famed, and lone national psychiatrist, Dr Nahim says, that there is a direct link between Sierra Leone’s high unemployment rate and the rise of ataya bases across the capital city, Freetown. The doctor is asking the government to limit intake of ataya because  “very strong stimulants” in the gun powder tea has led to new cases of psychosis.

At last count the National Union of Ataya-Bases (NUAB) disclosed that its 672 spots served some 1 million customers yearly.

Across Freetown you’ll find flasks of ataya manned by mostly Fullani vendors brewing and pouring tea to young men. Sometimes they play ‘draf’, or sit quietly to pass the time.

We’ve never known ataya to cause violence or seen any one go crazy as a result but if Dr. Nahim says its dangerous then we just have to take his word for it.

Meanwhile who is going to hire the ataya base sellers after government bans it? Adding fuel to the unemployment fire no?

  • Concerned

    Common Vickie, what kind of article is this? I have no knowledge of the possible damage that Ataya can cause and I am not calling for its ban, but if it is infact dangerous, are you suggesting the gov still turns a blind eye because we don’t want the traders to become unemployed. I think our citizens being drug addicts (if the stuff is dangerous) is a much bigger danger than unemployment.

  • Boye Jallo Jamboria

    May be some other drug is added to the gunpowder. I used it everyday more or less as tea in the mornings and my experience is it makes me get free stools and also gives me energy to go on with up to midday.
    I have never had any feelings of being drugged or anything like that when I drink it and of course I don’t use sugar with it which is also a stimulant.

  • lefffa

    Its pretty tasty. I dont think any worse than an expresso…no?