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Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images.

LAMU, KENYA - MARCH 01: Young rasta man chewing qat in the street, Lamu County, Lamu, Kenya on March 1, 2011 in Lamu, Kenya.

Kenyan Rastafarians Want Cannabis Unbanned for Religious Reasons

The Rastafari Society of Kenya argues that the personal use of cannabis, which is currently outlawed in the country, is an integral part of their religion.

According to local media reports, the Rastafari Society of Kenya has gone before the High Court to argue in favour of the personal use of cannabis. Currently illegal in Kenya, the minority religious group argues that the laws criminalising the use of cannabis in Kenya are prejudiced towards their religion given that the substance is a "sacrament connecting believers to their creator." Cannabis is commonly used as incense to initiate religious practises by Rastafarians and is often followed by a series of praises and prayers.

READ: A Rastafarian Girl Was Banned from School in Kenya Because of Her Locks

Under Section 3 of Kenya's Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Act, the private and public use of cannabis, cultivation for commercial purposes and the general sale of the substance is prohibited. The CEO of the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), Victor Okioma, espouses the strict use of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes but not for recreational activities.

However, Shadrack Wambui, the attorney representing the Rastafari Society of Kenya, says the following:

"The impugned law which was enacted in the year 1994 is hostile and intolerant to persons professing the Rastafari faith yet we are in a new constitutional framework following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 that is progressive and accommodative of diversity."

Unlike Kenya, there are several countries on the continent which have permitted the use of cannabis in varying forms. Lesotho recently became the first African country to obtain permission to export cannabis to the European Union after the Lesotho-based company, MG Health, was recognised for its high quality production standards. The cannabis flower is reportedly set to be used as a pharmaceutical ingredient. South Africa, on the other hand, decriminalised the personal use of cannabis in a private residence back in 2018 following a landmark judgement by the Constitutional Court. The country is now looking at how to enter into the industry and create a viable business sector.

Photo: La Fédération de la Haute Couture

Lukhanyo Mdingi on Making his Paris Fashion Week Debut

We talked to the South African designer who, after co-winning the LMVH Prize last year, showcased his Bodyland Autumn/Winter 22-23 collection in Paris earlier this month.

In 2015, South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi founded his eponymous label. Inspired by his mother and grandmother who raised him, Mdingi has created a formidable brand that is centered on building a bridge between heritage and timeless fashion pieces. Since the brand’s inception, Mdingi has made great strides in fashion, from his NYFW debut in 2019 to being crowned a joint winner of the 2021 LVMH Karl Lagerfeld Prize.

This year, Mdingi took his vision of Africa to France’s fashion capital, Paris, where he made his Bodyland Autumn/Winter 22-23 debut for the Paris Fashion Week Menswear Collection. Being the first designer on the program schedule to present, Mdingi showcased a collection that spoke of the relationship he shares with himself and the artisans he collaborates with. For the past two years, Mdingi has been working to source his woven textiles and knitwear from crafts communities in Burkina Faso, Somalia, and the Eastern Cape, and the collection featured textural and sartorial nuances paying homage to his being a young Black creative.

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