Our story commences in the Kenyan and Ethiopian foothills, wishing to shed light on the role that qat, a little-known, natural amphetamine is currently playing in local as well as global markets. What explains the rise of qat as the the fastest-growing industry in East Africa, stretching from Kenya all the way to the Yemen? And how has this mild drug traditionally confined to the regions where it was grown, turned into a global phenomenon? The cultivation and distribution of Qat is three stories at once: it is about a plant that has been caught between century-old traditions, western policies on drug consumption and charges of funding international terrorism.

The film will guide you through a remarkable journey linked with the trade and consumption of qat: be it by riding dusty pick-up trucks overloaded with qat bundles hurtling at the feet of mount Kenya, or by following the footsteps of young Ethiopian religious leaders performing trance-like rituals at the rhythm of sacred cymbals.

By giving voice to expert psychologists, sociologists and politicians, the film aims to crystallize the controversial nature of this global phenomenon frequently banned for health and social concerns. At the same time, qat is a valuable means to emancipate workers, offering a more profitable and sustainable alternative to the burdens of development strategies imposed from above.

‘Leaves of the Horn’ aims at questioning today’s policies centered around drug consumption, social integration and the global market, as well as challenging key definitions of today such as ‘drug’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘tradition’.

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