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Photo: Sabelo Mkhabela

South Africa Legalizes Marijuana—Smokers Rejoice​

The country's constitutional court announced today that dagga AKA ganja AKA weed AKA canibus can now be legally consumed in private places in South Africa.

Last year as Lesotho began growing weed for medical and research purposes we asked what would marijuana legalization look like in South Africa? Speculate no longer.


This morning South Africa's Constitutional Court declared the law criminalizing the use of weed unconstitutional and invalid, giving the government 24 months to come up with new ones that respected South Africans' right to privacy "in their private spheres." While it will "not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption,"the BBC reports, it would still not be legal to use the drug in public, to sell it or supply it. Prior to the ruling, possession of marijuana in South Africa could earn you up to 15 years in prison and up to 25 years for dealing the substance.

Countries and jurisdictions across the globe have been moving toward legalizing consumption of marijuana, often pointing out the substance's relative lack of danger compared to alcohol and tobacco and, especially in the United States, the unequal application of laws related to is criminalization.

LISTEN: 11 South African Hip-Hop Songs About Weed

As cheekily reported in News24:

This is a joint victory for Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton and Rastafarian Garreth Prince who argued on December 13 and 14, 2016, for the decriminalisation of the herb.

South African Rastafarians showed out for the announcement. As did a wide range of legalization activists who lit up joints outside the court. As expected, the news has overwhelmed discussion on South African social media with discussion ranging from the serious to the silly.










Interview
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Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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