Pondoland: South Africa's cannabis growers left behind by legalisation plans

Traditional growers in the Eastern Cape feel left behind. The cost of getting a licence to grow cannabis is just too expensive for many
BBC News (UK)
Sunday, August 21, 2022

sa cannabis pondoland womenFor generations, people in South Africa's Eastern Cape have made their living growing cannabis. You might expect that as the country moves to legalise the crop, they would be first in line to benefit, but that is not necessarily the case. Cannabis, colloquially referred to as "umthunzi wez'nkukhu," or, chicken shade, is an intrinsic part of many rural communities in Eastern Cape's Pondoland and a vital source of income. "Cannabis is very important to us because it's our livelihood and source of income. Everything we get, we get it through selling cannabis. There are no jobs, our children are just sitting here with us." While cannabis might be a way of life for this community, growing it at this scale is illegal. There are more than 900,000 small-scale farmers in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces who have been growing cannabis for years.