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Daggafarians celebrating 420 in the Maboneng precinct, Johannesburg.

Daggafari or Daggafarianism is a sub-culture of the cannabis culture that originated from the evolution and revolution of the dagga culture in contemporary South Africa as a result of the reformation of cannabis laws around the world in favor of the plant. In Daggafari anyone associated with the cannabis culture is known as a daggafarian, cannafarian or hempfarian.[1]

The term Daggafarian is a compound word created from the words, dagga and Rastafarian, and was first used in 2013[2] on a social media page.[3] The term came into existence after a need arose for a colloquial term that identifies positively with the cannabis culture of South Africa regardless of a person's religion, race, language or social background, that still however emphasizes the word dagga without any negative connotations of its notorious history.

The use of this internationally recognizable term, because of the direct use of the word dagga in South African, as well as international news[4] & publications as well as the influence and popularity of cannabis use of the rasta culture, the South African cannabis culture showed a clear evolution in reaction to continual reformation of cannabis laws around the world.


The (r)evolution of the dagga culture: From pothead to daggafarian


As a result of hundreds of years of stigma[5], racism[6] and pseudo-scientific allegations[7] against dagga there aren't many words in the Afrikaans language that associates neutrally or positively with the cannabis culture. Still today the word pothead or "daggakop" is generally used to insult rather than identify a person belonging to the cannabis culture. Even the term "cannabis smoker" or "daggarooker"is generally accompanied by a negative association in retrospect to a person's use of cannabis.

Formation of the Dagga Party

In February of 2009 Jeremy David Acton forms the first constituent of the Dagga Party of South Africa, in Cape Town, to represent the dagga culture as a South African political party.

Coronation of the Dagga Couple

In August of 2010 the raid and arrest of the South African couple, Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke for the possession of cannabis made headline news where they were then referred to, by the media, as the Dagga Couple.

Following the arrest the couple appeared in the Magistrate's court where they applied to be heard in the Constitutional Court. In May of 2011 the couple's affidavit is handed in at the North Gauteng High Court. In August 2011 charges of possession and dealing are struck off the roll at Magistrate’s Court, pending the outcome of the constitutional challenge and a summons is served to the seven departments of Government. By November 2011 the State file their intention to defend the charges. By January 2012 the State replied to the founding affidavit and in July of 2012 Doctors For Life apply to the Pretoria high Court as defendant number 8 for the State in the case.[8]

Rise of the cannabis movement

By January of 2013 the Dagga Movement of South Africa appears on social media creating awareness regarding the injustice of cannabis laws in South Africa.

On 29 April 2013 the Dagga Movement created an online platform whereby participants could send a 21 day notice to various government departments including the President of South Africa in what was called the "Cannabis Awareness Drive: 21 Days Notice to Government".[9] A total of 91 persons participated in the drive.[10] The proclamation of dagga rights and no other part of the notice was rebutted by government.[11]

Unification of the dagga culture

On 20 April 2013 daggafarians for the first time came together to celebrate 4/20 in the Maboneng precinct, Johannesburg. This celebration is locally known as D-Day (Dagga Day).[12]

Three days after the D-Day celebration the Dagga Movement publishes guidelines for the use & description of the word Daggafarian on their website.

On 3 May 2013 the Dagga Union of South Africa (DUSA) is formed by a Facebook group that would see their membership continue grow past 20,265 members in August of 2017.

Relinquishing of Dagga Law Bill

On 24 April 2014 the first revision of the Relinquish Dagga Law Bill Rev. 1a is written by the fouding member of the Dagga Movement & Dagga Union of South Africa and is presented to the dagga culture as well as members of the Dagga Union of South Africa.[13] By 24 September 2014 the bill is revised for the fourth time, resulting in two separate documents titled Relinquish Dagga Law Bill Rev. 1d[14] and Dagga Regulation Bill Rev. 1b[15] respectively. The bills were presented to Julius Sello Malema in a tweet with the hopes that it would be tabled in parliament, although this endeavor proved mostly unsuccessful it did result in Malema retweeting the Bills to his followers.[16]

Dagga Ops

On 7 May 2015 the Dagga Magazine published the Dagga Ops Environmental Impact Assessment as received from the South African Police Service after filing a PAIA request to get access to the documents that give the SAPS Air Wing their mandate[17] to aerial spray dagga crops with glyphosate in South Africa and the Transkei.[18]

The Trial of the Plant

On 29 July 2017 the Constitutional challenge to legalise dagga started in Pretoria High Court. After a delayed start and nearly 3 weeks of expert testimony the case is postponed to 2018 to allow the plaintiffs time to study the 4000 pages of late evidence introduced by Doctors for Life.[19]

The history of dagga law and racism

Between 1887 to 1949

The first documented discussion of dagga in South Africa is found in the Natal Indian Immigrants Commission Report (RIIC)[20] published in 1887, in which it is claimed that dagga is responsible for causing insanity amongst Indians. In this report Indians are referred to as "coolies":
prohibiting the smoking, use, or possession by, and the sale, barter or gift to, any coolies whatsoever, of any portion of the hemp plant (cannabis sativa), and authorising the destruction thereof, if found in such use or possession, and imposing penalties upon coolies using, cultivating or possessing such plant for the purpose of smoking the same.[21]

The findings of the Indian Immigrant Commission Report framed the future debates on cannabis in South Africa. By 1891 cannabis is prohibited under Act 34 of 1891 in the Cape Colony.[22][23] The South African Native Affairs Commission Report (SANAC)[24] of 1905 includes native South Africans in the dagga debate and by 1908 the "Black-Peril" campaign is used to support the call for a ban on cannabis which succeeded in 1922 with the national prohibition on the cultivation, possession and use of cannabis. The law was briefly changed to exempt mine-workers, allowing them to cultivate, possess or use cannabis, but this exemption was eventually revoked to destabilize the National Union of Mine-workers. Before the national ban of 1922 it was legal for whites to cultivate, possess and use cannabis.

In 1921 the Council of the League of Nations had called for an “Advisory Committee on the Traffic in Opium and Dangerous Drugs,” and it was in 1923 that South Africa wrote to this committee. The letter read as follows:[23]

"Pretoria November 28th 1923

With reference to your letter no. 12/A/22951/17217 dated September 6th 1922, on the above subject and to my letter no. 29/8/85 dated December last, forwarding copies of the Regulations promulgated under Proclamation no. 181 of 1922, I have the honour to inform you that, from the point of view of the Union of South Africa, the most important of all the habit-forming drugs is Indian Hemp[25] or ‘Dagga’ and this drug is not included in the International List. It is suggested that the various Governments being parties to the International Opium Convention should be asked to include in their lists of habit-forming drugs the following:

Indian hemp: including the whole or any portion of the plants cannabis indica or cannabis sativa.

Signed, J.C. Van Tyen, for Secretary to the Prime Minister."[26]

This was accepted at the Second Opium Conference of 1924, and came into international law in 1925.[23][27]

Other notable historic events regarding dagga and racism

Son of Rhodesian Prime Minster arrested for dagga

On 20 December 1971 Alec Smith, the son of the Prime Minster of Rhodesia, Ian Smith, is arrested for the possession of dagga at the Mozambique border, after returning from vacation.[28]

David Carradine, dagga, racism and the Apartheid State

In 1980, while in South Africa filming Safari 3000 (also known as Rally), Carradine was arrested for possession of marijuana.[29] He was convicted and given a suspended sentence.[30] He claimed that he was framed by the apartheid government as he had been seen dancing with Tina Turner.[31] However after he became an established actor and had changed his name to David, he was arrested, in 1967, for possession of marijuana.[32]


  1. Definition of the word Daggafarian
  2. #Daggafarian Facebook Hashtag
  3. Dagga Movement
  4. "Dagga a queer dope" from a very old Australian Newspaper
  5. Pothead father sets daughter alight, Huisgenoot, 28 Mei 2017
  6. History of dagga
  7. Dagga can kill you., Huisgenoot, 28 Mei 2017
  8. Dagga Couple's case timeline.
  9. Cannabis Awareness Drive: 21 Days Notice to Government
  10. Number of participants in the Cannabis Awareness Drive
  11. Notice to Government Regarding Cannabis Use Unchallenged
  12. D-Dag 2013
  13. Relinquish Dagga Law Bill Rev. 1d & Dagga Regulation Bill Rev. 1b
  14. Dagga Regulation Bill Rev 1b
  15. Dagga Regulation Bill Rev 1b
  16. Julius Malema retweets Relinquish Dagga Law Bill
  17. Dagga Ops Environmental Impact Assessment
  18. Battle to stop dagga spraying, GroundUp
  19. Dagga Couple's case timeline.
  20. Report of the Indian Immigrants Commission, 1885–1887 (Pietermaritzburg, 1887), pp. 7 – 8
  21. RIIC (1887), p. 6
  22. Bourhill, The Smoking of Dagga (1912), p. 20
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Template:Cite web Template:PD-notice
  24. Report of the South African Native Affairs Commission, 1903–1905 (Pretoria, 1905)
  25. [1]
  26. Cited in Mills “Colonial Africa and the international politics of cannabis” (2007), p. 166
  27. Cited in Mills “Colonial Africa and the international politics of cannabis” (2007), p. 166 – 168
  28. RHODESIA PM's son had drug, The Canberra Times (ACT), Wednesday 22 March 1972 p 5
  29. "South Africans Arrest Carradine," Tuscaloosa News (September 21, 1980) p. 19
  30. "Carradine Guilty in Pot Case," Sarasota Times (November 13, 1980) p. 12
  31. Carradine, David (1995). Endless Highway. Journey.
  32. Sease, Glean (August 29, 1967). "People." The Pittsburgh Press

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