It’s been over nine months since the historic dagga ruling of September 2018, and life hasn’t been the same since then.
My partner of 20 years wept when we heard the news, and our two daughters looked on.
For a moment, memories shook our voices, and for a long while after we reminisced. Reminisced about souls like Matekoane - a young, fearless black man who wore his green-blanket heart on his sleeve every time we went marching for the herb.
Matekoane would drape himself in cobs of dagga, and would intentionally walk past a group of policemen.
It was a dizzying display of black power, the sort that I had until then only read about. And each time I saw it - I truly lived.
The last we heard, this young warrior had reportedly gone “mad”.
But the truth is, he’s not the only casualty of this racist, unjust war on a plant. When you’ve been on the side of the plant for more than 25 years, as I have - you know Matekoane can’t be the only casualty.
I was first conscripted at university, but the signs were there long before. Whether it was my complete paralysis each time my mother asked me to slaughter a chicken or the experimenting with dreadlock-twisting in high school, the signs were always there.
At varsity, the enemy’s front line was littered with carefully chosen snipers who peddled white supremacy under the guise of education.
Although the importance of an education had been so drummed into my head, I knew something was rotten. Each time I got into an altercation with one of my lecturers, I could smell it.
The beautiful fallists had not yet been born and everyone in my family was expecting to see what I would give birth to once I got my bachelor of commerce degree. In my third year, with a couple of courses to complete, I resolved that I would not bow down to white supremacy. That three-second tap on my head at graduation became the ultimate bow and I chose to give it the middle finger.
My decision to bow out of university was, without a doubt, inspired by my dagga smoking. The same way it has inspired all that I’m about. The political world view I hold and the life truths I continue to live by have all been influenced by the herb. The fact that I went vegetarian and later vegan some 26 years ago is because of it.
That people will speak to those around me like normal adults and get loud and animated when greeting Jahman is because of it. That I’ve always refused to be intimidated by “power” and insisted on speaking up is because of it.
I know this because I know what it feels like when a mother gives up on you because you refuse to believe what you’re being told about this dagga.
I know what it’s like to be constantly dismissed as the “drunk uncle”, even when the passage of time is continuously vindicating your unusual family advice.
So it should be no wonder then why people like Matekoane and I have turned out the way we have. When our young souls were inexplicably drawn to the simple truth of the dirty Rasta, and we chose nature over society’s rebuke - we changed the course of our lives forever. This is what that historic dagga ruling is about. The life we’ve lived and the dignity we all deserve.
It’s not about silly debates on whether cannabis is safe or dangerous. All this is distracting us from the real issues. Dagga justice and dignity for those of us who are still here and the children who are now burdened with “the dagga sins of their fathers”.
* Mohale has been using cannabis for more than 25 years. Facebook page - Responsible [email protected]
** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Independent Media