SA Premiere



Jessica Beshir


Ethiopia | USA | Qatar



Running Time:

119 min


Oromiffa, Harari

According to Ethiopian Sufi legend, khat, a leaf that produces a stimulant effect when chewed, was a gift from God to a Sufi imam in search of eternity. Inspired by this mythical story, Faya Dayi takes viewers on a spiritual journey into the Hara highlands, where the khat rituals are ubiquitous and where the plant has become a central cog in the local economy. For centuries, Sufi muslims have chewed the leaf as meaning of getting closer to their creator. Today, khat is the region’s most lucrative cash crop and there is concern about the social and economic impacts of widespread khat use. Exquisitely filmed in black and white, Faya Dayi’s dreamlike tapestry of intimately observed realities offers a window into the lives of young Ethiopians constrained by the yoke of a repressive regime.

2021 (23rd) Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival