In 1999 Kaya, a popular Mauritian Seggae musician organised a free concert for the decriminalisation of cannabis. The event was peaceful and though some people were openly smoking cannabis, police activity was minimal and there were no arrests. However later, five people, including Kaya, were arrested. Kaya was put into the Line Barracks prison, known locally as Alcatraz. Although bail money was raised, due to a technicality he had to wait until Monday to be released, but Kaya was found dead in his cell on Sunday morning. The authorities claim that, because of his drug usage, he had gone into a frenzy and bashed his head against the cell wall. A coroner later stated that he had been beaten to death. Kaya’s death led to the 1999 Mauritian riots.

Nominated for a PEN Translation award in 2022, this is an almost real time journey over a weekend in the life of fifteen-year-old Santee as she tries to find her younger brother in a city consumed by fire and rioting.

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Cover image for Kaya Days by Carl de Souza. Image shows a young woman in balletic pose, walking on a river bed
Title: Kaya Days
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