YOUTHENASIA – Is this the best we can do?

By |Published On: June 16th, 2023|

Dagga is Gagga – this was the main campaign when I was in school. I was raised in the relatively conservative white-Afrikaans parts of the Western Cape, with the stuttering murmurs of a recently overthrown apartheid regime trying to claim relevance. 

Each year when 16 June would come about, I would hear the adults talk about the ungratefulness of the Youth in Soweto in 1976. No-one ever felt comfortable facing the truth: these youngsters rose up against the atrocious actions of a purely evil regime that sought to determine basic human rights along superficial markers of ethnicity. Kids holding placards, sticks, and rocks were gunned down by adults indoctrinated to believe themselves somehow superior. 

As we listened to the misinformation posed as “drug education” in the Dagga is Gagga campaign, I realised in my youthful rebellion that we have a racist underpinning to how we perceive drugs and drug use. This trend is embedded in the three main treaties governing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances internationally. It is a trend pervasive in the ridiculous War on Drugs, and it is the benchmark for most drug education and regulation presently. 

My becoming a daggakop was likely my own way to fight discrimination and challenge the racially fuelled indoctrination of my formative years. Interactions with the Plant have always allowed me to interact with cultures outside my own. I love that there are as many uses as users of the Plant. I just really hate how badly educated most are on the topic of Dagga and how they believe it is still this Gagga thing. 

Many maintain that Cannabis will destroy our youth, but few question their hatred of the Plant, and in so doing ignore hairbrained laws that cause the real life-changing  trouble for our youngsters. 

Young adults consuming a psychotropic substance that is several rungs below the most destructive substance – alcohol – can have their lives and livelihoods devastated by misguided laws enforced by the state-sanctioned thugs we call our Police Service. 

Figures of authority are failing our youth daily, yet they are slow to accept that they are responsible for how they shape the world our youth must lay the foundations for their lives in. How is it that we adults lambaste the “kids of today” for their wild actions while denying our accountability in the role we play in their delinquency by refusing them the truth and proper guidance?

Wilful ignorance of the growing pool of evidence around Cannabis, not only as a less harmful substance but as something that can benefit our youth in any one of the developing industries is a misstep in the collective growth of our yet to be unified nation. 

While our youth may not all want to participate in the various industries sprouting up as we stand in defiance against slow legislative changes, they should not stand in fear of having their lives ruined by a corrupt judicial system for merely interacting with Dagga. 

So today, instead of bumping fists in acknowledgement of my fellow daggakoppe, I will punch the air and shout AMANDLA!

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About the Author: Leela Baer

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