Farmers Have Been Making A Living By Harvesting Weed For Over 200 Years. At Mkumbi, a rural area at the Pondoland region in the Eastern Cape, lies people who have been harvesting weed for years.
At Mkumbi, a rural area at the Pondoland region in the Eastern Cape, lies people who have been harvesting weed for years. Sizane Nompethu, 63, wakes up at the dawn and goes down to her family’s little plot of land, she has been working on the piece of land since she was a 15-year-old. She currently says the work is hard for her now because of her age.
“I am old and as you can see this is very hard work. But this is all we have. It’s how we raise our children,” says the 63-year-old. It is not entirely known how many small-scale weed farmers there are in the South African nation. The people of Pondoland have been growing and harvesting weed for over 200 years, with most of their harvests heading to taxi ranks and Cape Town townships, along with some other areas in South Africa.
In Pondoland, weed is the only crop of income within the economy. There were a lot of attempts aimed at removing the plant from the place. Sizane Nomphethu remembers a time in the 1970s when police officials would come in horses, in order to apprehend people or take away and burn weed crops. At about the 90s, the drug squads tried a different approach. They chose to spray a herbicide called glyphosate from helicopters onto the crops, according to GroundUp the spraying of the herbicide resumed till 2016.
In September 2018, the South African Constitutional Court stated that having, using and growing weed in a private setting is legal. The bill is expected to be taken out soon. “I’m worried that now everyone will be able to plant their own dagga in their own homes, so we won’t be able to make money from selling what we are growing here,” says 43-year-old Thulisile Gumbe, Sizane Nomphethu’s neighbour.
by Alexandra Ramaite