“Ganja is a currency. People send their kids to school with the money they make from growing and selling it.”
Port St Johns – An artist in the Transkei, an area notorious for cannabis cultivation, is clearing the smoke about the uses of marijuana.
There is still no word on the matter of the legalisation of dagga. For some, this herb is productive.
Phumelele Lovisa is working hard to break the stereotype. He jokes that there isn’t a local here who hasn’t tried the so-called “green gold of Transkei”.
“It’s a habit. It could have been a cigarette and I would not have a philosophy. Its medical, meditation, it’s a habit I picked up, that’s it,” said Lovisa.
But what might be a harmless pastime for some, is a way of living for others.
“Ganja is a currency. People send their kids to school with the money they make from growing and selling it.
“Many families who live in underdeveloped areas, there is no one to employ you,” said Lovisa.
He said marijuana users flock to the countryside to buy stock from illegal dagga farms.
“All they have is the land. They rely on the herb to send their children to school, buy groceries, build their houses. Their entire lives revolve around cultivation,” said Lovisa.
“This is not a secret. Every year the helicopters go around, police cutting the trees, everyone knows.”
As for Lovisa, he’s focusing on breaking any stereotype linked with a “Rasta” lifestyle.
He talks about life in the area through his art — from marijuana travelling from the rural fields of the Transkei to the city of Johannesburg.