The wide open spaces in South Africa certainly give us room to contemplate both our journey and the road ahead. We traveled to the South Western Free State, taking our campaign to the quiet town of Fauresmith. We were invited by the One Love Youth Development NGO to share our stories, advice and hope that Cannabis legalisation will benefit their remote community.
As is often the case during our travels, our hosts gave back to the cause by showing us that there is so much hope in South Africa. The information weekend started with an afternoon session with local government departments explaining their roles in the community to a youthful audience. Health, Sports, Correctional Services, the Mayor’s office, Home Affairs and, of course, the police. Speakers offered support in everything from job applications to sorting out your ID. Our hosts explained that the youth must be taught how to get on in life and use the services provided. The One Love group of highly motivated individuals are seeing to it that their town remains peaceful and that no-one gives up hope for prosperity.
It was the turn of Cannabis legalisation on Saturday morning. The crowd gathered and over 100 people listened intently and many had their own stories to tell of arrests and victimisation at the hands of the police. We explained our “Know Your Rights” booklet and the fact that one of the organisers, Edward September, has gone through the process of obtaining a stay in prosecution in the Bloemfontein High Court. It is a common misconception that people in rural areas are “out of touch”. Not so in this small community. The people are up to date with the latest developments in the various court cases and ready to take advantage of the opportunities when legalisation comes.
Cannabis legalisation is not the silver bullet for all South Africa’s economic woes but this community shows us that the youth are ready to legitimise the existing “black market”. They have the knowledge to administer small businesses and work with local authorities in a constructive way. They have sent one of their “elders” to The University of the Western Cape to study for a degree in Economic Development.
After our presentation we opened The Dagga Couple stall and quickly sold out of all of our stickers & tshirts. We gathered over 100 petition signatures and left our new friends with loads of flyers to keep educating the community. We were also humbled by a very generous donation from the One Love organisation as a contribution to our travelling expenses. The smiles, the hugs, the love… it all made the long drive so worth it as we launch into 2018 with renewed hope for our beautiful country.
We never say no to a road trip so if you would like us to visit your community all we need is an invite. Organise a venue and an audience and we will be there! Thanks again to the wonderful community of Ipopeng, Fauresmith, Free State province. South Africa we love you!