News Brief

Lesotho Just Granted Africa's First Legal Marijuana License

Lesotho's Ministry has granted the South African medical company Verve Dynamics an official license for the cultivation of marijuana.

Lesotho's Ministry of Health just granted South African medical company, Verve Dynamics, an official license for the cultivation of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes—making it the first marijuana production company on the continent to have been given administrative approval.


Cannabis is already Lesotho's primary cash-crop. It's mountainous terrain, experienced farmers, and cooperative government puts the country in a unique position to lead the continent's industry, reports Konbini. About 70 percent of South Africa's marijuana is generated in Lesotho, and the continent's market is only growing.

According to a 2007 report on "Cannabis in Africa" by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 38.2 million Africans between the ages of 15 and 64 use marijuana yearly and the numbers have grown since. Nigeria ranks third on a list of countries that consume the most cannabis with 14.3 percent of the population using marijuana.

With this ruling, Lesotho finds itself at the forefront of an immensely profitable industry.

“Access to medicinal cannabis on the African continent has taken another major step forward today and Verve Dynamics is honoured to be the first company in Africa to have been granted regulatory approval to begin the process of growing and producing high quality cannabis extracts commercially,” says Richard Davies of Verve Dynamics in a statement. "The Government’s decision to move forward with this historic decision means that Lesotho will play a significant role in developing this industry, both locally and internationally, as well as establishing itself as a pioneer on the African continent with regards to state of the art extraction equipment."

So, will other African countries take steps towards "legalizing it" as well? It appears that some are gradually doing so already, South Africa legalized the use of marijuana for personal use in the home back in April, though distribution and public uses are still illegal.

It seems that Verve Dynamics is ready just in case any other nations decide to follow in Lesotho's footsteps. “We will make this equipment and services available to our partners in Africa on a toll basis as long as both the legal and regulatory approvals have been met,” says the company.

From what we can tell, the continent is about to get even more lit.

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South African Actor Charles 'Big Boy' Maja Has Passed Away

Tributes are pouring in for the beloved actor who starred in the popular South African television drama 'Skeem Saam'.

South African actor and former radio broadcaster, Charles Maja, has passed away according to reports by TimesLIVE. Affectionately known as "Big Boy", the name of the character he played on the popular local drama series Skeem Saam, the actor reportedly suffered a fatal stroke earlier this morning while in the northern province of Limpopo. He was just 54.

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News Brief

South African Hip-Hop Producers Makwa and Lunatik Will Battle It Out on Instagram Live

Another exciting South African hip-hop IG Live battle is happening.

Makwa and Lunatik are the next pair of producers who will go toe to toe in an Instagram Live battle at 10 P.M. (SAST). Both producers are responsible for some of South Africa's biggest and era-defining hits. Makwa has produced most of Kwesta's biggest hits such as "Spirit" and "Vur Vai" among others. Lunatik has produced such monster hits as K.O's "Caracara," OkMalumKoolKat's "Amalobolo" and DJ Citi Lyts' "Vura." We know... we are getting goosebumps, too.

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Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.

Spotlight: Nicole Rafiki's Images Merge the Contemporary with the Traditional to Challenge Stereotypes

Get familiar with the work of Norway-based Congolese visual artist Nicole Rafiki.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight Nicole Rafiki, a Congolese visual artist who uses symbolism to challenge stereotypes in a critical way. Read more about the inspirations behind her work below, and check out some of her stunning images underneath. Be sure to keep up with the artist on Instagram and Facebook and her Rafiki Arts Initiative here.


How would you describe yourself as an artist?

As an interdisciplinary artist, I use symbolism to re-imagine and challenge the stereotypical depiction of spaces, contexts and the people who are affected by global migration. I view my work as a platform for dialogues about identity, fluidity, place, and belonging. As an artist with a diverse cultural, historic and artistic background, I use art to inform, engage and heal. Because it is too easy to fall into the trap of promoting idealism or clichés, I make it a point to be critical and analytical in my work.

What is the message behind your recent photo-series "The Crown"?

This work came about after I had been stuck in Lagos traffic for 2 hours, listening to a radio show about the role of women in the household. One middle-aged woman called in to say that a "proper woman has to be domesticated". Listening to that radio show just made it seem like, for many people, it doesn't matter how educated, professionally accomplished or otherwise successful a woman is as long as she does not have the required domestic skills required by the African society. The urban attire complemented by traditional African elements illustrates the double role that many young African women have in our communities. And yet, that point is made against a yellow backdrop, symbolizing our power, historical achievements, hope and optimism for the future.

As an African artist, what do you want to communicate with your art about the continent?

The core message in my art is the promotion of our personal and collective healing process. That is only possible if we all understand the importance of playing our part. I believe that this is a very important time to be active in the contemporary art field. We have reached a historical point where Africans from the continent and the diaspora are challenging the status quo in the art industry by creating their own platforms to discuss, share and challenge the dominating philosophical, artistic, political and cultural perspectives on art. We have the power, individually and collectively to create a different legacy for the next generation and have personally just begun exploring all the possibilities out there.

Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Mkono" (2018), in loving memory of my grandmother.Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Untitled" (2019), in loving memory of Benon Lutaaya. Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Not without my bags" (2019)Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Kadogo (2019)"Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Mwenye imani haitaji macho" (A man of faith needs no eyes), (2019). Model: AfrogallonismImage courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Crown" (2020)Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Crown" (2020). Model: Deborah Kandoua AffouéImage courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Kwabende" (2019)Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.

Screenshot from YouTube.

The Big Hash Shares Visuals for ‘Amnesia’ and Releases New Song from Upcoming EP

Watch The Big Hash's music video for 'Amnesia' and his new song 'My Way' from upcoming EP.

To celebrate his 20th birthday yesterday while on lockdown, The Big Hash released visuals for his latest single "Amnesia."

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