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South Africa: King Khoisan arrested for planting cannabis in front of President Cyril Ramaphosa's residence



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King Khoisan detained by police in Pretoria, South Africa - Photo: BBC

King Khoisan, leader of the South African Khoi-San indigenous community, was arrested for growing and selling cannabis in front of the official residence of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, announced the with the BBC. Some members of the country's oldest ethnic group, which is now a small minority, were camped outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria three years ago, demanding official recognition of their languages.

King Khoisan believes that his arrest was a ploy to remove him from the immediate vicinity of the President's residence and silence the protest of his community, but he assures that he will continue to grow cannabis and that the prison will not detain him. “Police, you have declared war! We have been here peacefully and we will come after you,” he yelled during his detention.

The searches were carried out by 12 police officers, some with dogs and others on horseback. In addition to the leader, King Khoisan, three other members of the community were detained, but all were released the next day on bail. The arrest came after the police began to collect cannabis plants and the leader, King Khoisan, vehemently opposed. In the collected images for some agencies of social communication, the authorities can be seen dragging the plants to which King Khoisan had clung, being dragged along as well. He was also accused of not wearing a mask and refusing to put it on after being asked.

A group of supporters, some dressed in the traditional clothing of the tribe, waited at the entrance to the courthouse, dancing, singing and smoking dagga (cannabis). On his way out, King Khoisan referred to the News24 that “we cannot continue with the laws of others”, since their ancestors smoked dagga long before Europeans arrived in Southern Africa.

South Africa legalized private consumption (at home) and self-cultivation for own use of cannabis in 2018. The law that punished users of up to 25 years in prison was also repealed.

cannabis (or dagga) is used by the Khoi-San tribe for medicinal purposes

According to statements made to IOL by the leader's wife, Queen Cynthia, the dagga it is used for medicinal purposes, such as helping people who have cancer or high blood pressure. He also says that the Khoisan people just want recognition and complains about the fact that the President does not show the will to start a dialogue with this community.

Os Khoi-San, one of the oldest communities in the country, on the continent and in the world, has some of its members, including the leader and his wife, who have camped out in protest for more than 3 years outside the Ramaphosa office, in a space green near the Nelson Mandela statue in Pretoria, one of the 3 capitals of South Africa. Among other things, these indigenous people demand that the South African government officially recognize their language, that they are the first indigenous nation and that the word “coloured” – when used in reference to mestizo people – must be removed from all countries. official documents.

Today they are a small minority in the country, but scientists believe that this ethnic group is made up of “separate populations of herder-gatherers and hunter-gatherers who speak languages ​​containing “clique consonants”, according to an article published in Science News. Over the past decade, researchers have discovered that their DNA has much older roots than the other forms of mitochondrial DNA that have been inherited by humans today. In other words, the diversity contained in the Khoi-San DNA has evidence of being one of the oldest in the world.


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