Connect with us


South Africa: The key role of the “Sangomas” in the cannabis legalization process



Zanele Mazibuko, "Sangoma" or traditional healer. Photo: Larissa Barbosa | cannareporter

The third edition of The Cannabis Expo took place this weekend in Cape Town and welcomed hundreds of participants. Since 2019, South Africa's biggest cannabis event has been held annually in three cities across the country: Cape Town, Durban (July 28th to 30th) and Johannesburg (November 24th to 26th). The convention always has a special space dedicated to “Sangomas”, the South African term equivalent to traditional healers or shamans, who play a leading role in the legalization of cannabis in this African country.

In South Africa, cannabis is a medicinal herb used for centuries by traditional healers, known in the country as Sangomas. A Sangoma is a practitioner of herbal medicine and counseling in the Nguni tradition — Zulus, Xossas, Ndebele and Swazis — different societies in South Africa. His philosophy is based on belief in ancestral spirits.

The Sangomas have, therefore, assumed a preponderant role in the process of legalizing cannabis in the country, where for more than 5 years, consumption and self-cultivation have been legalized for own consumption. Remember that, last year, King Khoisan, leader of the South African indigenous community Khoi-San, was arrested for growing and selling cannabis in front of the official residence of the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The Sangoma had only one place in traditionality, but here we see that we can also learn from the industry and develop our traditional practices a lot”.

For Zanele Mazibuko, a traditional healer, participating in this event was important, especially now that the government is beginning to recognize the ancestral medicine work of traditional healers. Since 2018, a process of decriminalization of use and cultivation for personal consumption has begun. The club model is operating for recreational use, but the market for hemp and CBD products is on the rise, with much anticipation for the hemp industry.

Some Sangomas at The Cannabis Expo. Photo: Larissa Barbosa | cannareporter

Greek Zweni, Sangoma from the region of Mvindoland sees with enthusiasm this participation of the Sangomas in the Expo. “From our perspective, it may look like a modern event that showcases the Western way of doing things, but we noticed that this is not the case. Here we find an international variety of ways of doing things and how processes can be improved for the good of humanity and communities. The Sangomas only had a place in traditionality, but here we see that we can also learn from the industry and greatly develop our traditional practices. Have one stand here at the Expo it is an opportunity to gain international acceptance of the medicine we make and consume”, he told the Cannareporter.

Greek Zweni is at the Expo also representing another association, the Umzimvubu Farmers Network, which is fighting for the inclusion of traditional growers from the Mvindoland region in the new South African legislation, which is still considered by activists to be quite restrictive. Cultivation licenses are extremely expensive and do not favor groups that often cultivate for their own subsistence.

This was even the theme of one of the first debates that opened the Expo's discussion panel. Linda Siboto, co-founder of Cheeba Academy, South Africa's leading cannabis education and training platform, pointed out that although the potential of the hemp industry in the country is huge, what is lacking is infrastructure for agricultural processing. Siboto suggested that the textile industry, for example, should ideally invest in such infrastructure, so that hemp can become a high-value industry.

Photo: Larissa Barbosa | cannareporter

After the scandal of the extinct Juicy Fields, main sponsor of the event in the previous year, and with more than two blackouts per day in Cape Town, the Expo opened with a record number of exhibitors: more than 200 stands with local exhibitors, International, agr suppliersítails, lifestyle brands, investors and also NGOs.

In the program, in addition to lectures, workshops and discussion panels, The Freedom Festival also took place, with bands, artists and DJs ensuring a festive atmosphere. Outside The Grand West Casino, the huge complex where Cannabis Expo takes place, there was also a cannabis food and beverage market.

South Africa is facing an unprecedented energy crisis. In Cape Town alone there are at least 2 to 3 blackouts a day, what South Africans call 'load-shedding'. The Cannabis Expo organization reported that this did not pose a problem, as more than 20 generators were used to ensure the success of the event.




[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]


What do you do with €3 a month? Become one of our Patrons! If you believe that independent cannabis journalism is necessary, subscribe to one of the levels of our Patreon account and you will have access to unique gifts and exclusive content. If there are many of us, we can make a difference with little!

+ posts

With a BA in Journalism and an MA in Gender and Development Studies at the Institute of International Studies and Development in Geneva, Switzerland, Larissa Barbosa is a Brazilian journalist based in France. In her career, she has written mainly on human rights, development and social movements. A few years ago, she began to study and write about the cannabis industry and became deeply interested in the topic of psychedelics as well. Larissa believes that good communication and journalism are central to a better understanding of the science of cannabis and psychedelics, in order to change public opinion and reduce stigma.

Click here to comment
Notify of

Inline feedback
View all comments

Watch the Documentary "Patients"

Documentary Patients Laura Ramos help us grow

Mais recentes

Events1 weeks ago

CannaTrade returns to Zurich from May 24th to 26th

CannaTrade – Zurich International Hemp Fair and Festival comes of age in 2024, celebrating its 18th...

Press Releases1 weeks ago

SOMAÍ Group and its subsidiary RPK Biopharma expand partnership with Cookies to include Europe and the United Kingdom

LISBON, PORTUGAL, May 16, 2024 / — The SOMAÍ Group (“SOMAÍ”) and its subsidiary, RPK Biopharma expanded...

National2 weeks ago

Portugal: Estimated CBD consumption increases despite ban

The “Cannabis in Portugal” report, carried out by Euromonitor International, released the most recent data on the cannabis industry,...

National2 weeks ago

"Cannabis. Maldita e Maravilhosa”, by Margarita Cardoso de Meneses, hits bookstores on May 16th

Margarita Cardoso de Meneses, contributor to CannaReporter®, has just published the book “Canábis. Maldita e Maravilhosa”, published by Oficina do...

Press Releases2 weeks ago

Montemor-o-Velho: Arrested for cannabis cultivation

The Coimbra Territorial Command, through the Criminal Investigation Unit (NIC) of the Montemor-o-Velho Territorial Detachment, today, the 9th...

Events2 weeks ago

PTMC – Portugal Medical Cannabis brings together the medical cannabis industry on May 22nd, in Lisbon

PTMC – Portugal Medical Cannabis will bring together professionals from the medical cannabis industry on the 22nd of...

corporations2 weeks ago

USA: MedMen declares bankruptcy with 400 million dollars of debt

US cannabis giant MedMen collapsed under the weight of its debt, announcing last week that...

News3 weeks ago

Study reveals that legalization of cannabis does not increase consumption of other substances

One of the most used arguments against the legalization of cannabis for adult or recreational use has been the idea of...

Hemp3 weeks ago

Latvia: Obelisk Farm's Hemp School is a finalist for the 2024 EFT Green Skills Award

Obelisk Farm continues to be recognized around the world for its unique approach to the exploitation of industrial hemp. The family project, which...

Events3 weeks ago

USA: CannMed 24 Innovation & Investment Summit returns to Marco Island, Florida, from May 12th to 15th

It is one of the most important scientific conferences on the medical cannabis industry and returns to Marco Island, Florida,...