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Arriving in South Africa

With the introduction of slavery on the African continent the Portuguese were the first to establish outposts in Africa which was then challenged by the Dutch , English and French.

THE CANNABIS plant is not indigenous to Africa and the most likely point of contact with the plant would have come from the Arabs. The earliest evidence of cannabis in Arica comes the 14th century (Ethopia). Seeds were carried south by the bantu speaking natives from North Africa and from there the use of cannabis as a intoxant spread to the other native Africans like the Bushman and Hottentots.

arrival-janvanriebeeckIn 1658 Jan Van Riebeeck , the first  governor of the Dutch colony , the Cape of Good Hope described the use of cannabis by the Hottentots. Although once a warrior tribe by the time of the Dutch came to Africa they were a tribe of cattle and sheep herders. Frustrated at not being able to buy cattle from them at a reasonable , the Dutch brought they own cattle to the cape colony along with the farmers (Boers)to look after them This coming of the Boers resulted in the enslavement of Hottentots.

What intrigued the Dutch was the Hottentots unique use of Hemp , which they called Dagga. Van Riebeek incredulously noted was valued more than gold by the Hottentots. In 1661 Dutch surgeon Van Meerhof added that the Hottentots had tried to smoke the Dagga but could never master it and in 1705 they were smoking it after having been thought the art by the White Man.

Once the natives learned the technique of smoking it the inhalation of burning dagga leave quickly spread from tribe to tribe. This crested a demand for pipes and a new skill Pipe making came into being. Pipe bowls where made out of various materials such as wood ,stone ,bone or pottery was often filled horn with water.

Quiet often the tribe could not afford the luxury of a bowl so they dug and mixed the dagga with burning manure then would lay down with the mouths over various holes. This was common over the Hottentots , Bushmen and Bantus.

Tribes also used cannabis before going to battle the Zulus and Sotho’s. It was also used by the Bergdama Tribe of South West Africa to trade for commodities such as cattle , goats, iron and copper.

coolieIn 1860 indians arrived on the Truro as Slaves to labour in the sugar cane farms. These so called “Koolie” labourers had been using dagga for centuries for religious, medicinal and recreational purposes.

Lawmakers of the country then passed laws in the decades preceeding prohibiting the smoking, use, possession, sale or gift ec to the “Koolie” labourers as the Europeans believe that it made them sick and lazy . This is the same plant that the Zulus used before battle , the same plant that had been used in the centuries preceeding for its countless benefits.

There was even a time when dagga was as traditional as Biltong ,boerebeskuit and witblits but this changed in 1923 when the plant was made illegal.

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