Reclaiming the word Dagga

Amuse yourself by mentioning the word Dagga in polite society in South Africa and watch the reactions which vary from outrage, disgust and shock right through to mirth and laughter.

The origin of the word is from the Khoisan, the original inhabitants of South Africa, who called a collection of intoxicating plants, including Leonorus, Sceletium and Cannabis by the collective name; dacha.

The word was Afrikanerized to dagga, using the guttural g, “ga” being an expression of extreme disgust in Afrikaans. This, along with a racist motivated demonisation   campaign led to the current stigma surrounding the word. It is even unacceptable among some users to use the word dagga to address the plant.

Reclaiming the word Dagga is a vital part of the re-legalisation struggle in South Africa. Dagga is part of our heritage, as South African as Umqumboti, biltong, or rusks and we should never be ashamed to call our plant by the name our ancestors used.


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