16 of 2022`

 Newsletter No 16/29 April 2022                                 


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When pot goes pro

By Jan Bornman

Cannabis plant that could stimulate rural economies.

Getting marijuana into the mainstream seems to be a panacea for rural economies, but there are many hoops to jump through first

Dagga used to be a dirty word. Lately it has become respectable as cannabis and, if President Cyril Ramaphosa gets his way, it could soon be as legitimate as growing mealies.

During his state of the nation address Ramaphosa held out the possibility of cannabis helping to create jobs and attracting investment. He even put a figure on it: 130,000 jobs. The National Cannabis Master Plan went further: R28bn for the fiscus.

The plan, raised in 2019, was drawn up by a committee ranging from government departments such as health, agriculture and justice, to the police, scientists and some universities. Its task was to bring underground agriculture into the mainstream. The potential is huge: the World Health Organisation says SA is the third-largest illegal cannabis producer in the world already, with about 2,500t grown each year.

Sibusiso Xaba, co-founder and CEO of the Africa Cannabis Advisory Group, says first the three spheres of the cannabis industry — medicinal cannabis, industrial cannabis (hemp) and its “adult use” must be liberalised. Following that, laws and regulations need to be amended so that capital for research and development can be raised, and consumers be protected.

He says a domestic industry needs to be developed with, for example, medicinal cannabis. “We’ve got hundreds, if not thousands, of potential medicinal cannabis patients in SA.”

Xaba warns, however, that creating jobs and wealth is “not a foregone conclusion” and that in five years the country could look back on a failed project. “The devil is in the detail in this industry,” he says.

The decriminalisation of “the weed” began in 2018 when the Constitutional Court ruled that private cultivation should be legal for adults. Because sales are still illegal, it can’t be developed, distributed or enter the global market for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis).

Nevertheless, the KwaZulu-Natal executive council has approved a cannabis committee to oversee the development of the industry in the province. According to premier Sihle Zikalala, it will make sure the industry adheres to regulations, seed supplies and research, and technology development.

Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber, says much of the potential employment will come from the processing rather than the production of cannabis and its products. That thinking is based on what is happening in Canada, the first G7 nation to fully legalise cannabis for medicinal, adult use and industrial purposes, where many jobs were created in a vibrant cannabis value chain rather than in primary production.

“As we try to develop the cannabis value chain, we should also [ask], ‘how in the process do we force the inclusion of medium and small-scale black farmers in that process?’ It can’t just be capital-heavy organisations who benefit, we have to ensure that those who have been growing cannabis for many years under the shadows of illegality are not suddenly pushed out,” Sihlobo says.

While policy and regulations are developing at a “snail’s pace”, Kwena Mokgohloa, of the Agricultural Research Council, who has been researching cannabis for 14 years and hemp for four years, says there are still many opportunities to be accessed. He says it’s  possible to create even more than Ramaphosa’s 130,000 jobs, especially if hemp is reclassified as a crop, to be used in textiles, clothing, paper, bioplastics and building material.

“[The cannabis industry] is going to require low-skilled and high-skilled workers,” Mokgohloa says.

Cilo Cybin, the only company in SA with a licence to grow, process, and pack cannabis products, recently launched its first line of CBD products targeting the medicinal market. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second-most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis.

Gabriel Theron, Cilo Cybin’s president and CEO, says the company partnered with the Vaal University of Technology to use a special nanotechnology in the production of its CBD range.

“It does give you the medicinal effect that you want. We split it into two product ranges. One is an oil that you can ingest and then there is also a vape range. The vape range is inhalable. If you have a panic attack, it helps you to immediately get over it,” he says.

With Cilo Cybin soon listing on the JSE and looking to become a market leader in SA, small players and laymen have been producing medicinal cannabis products for years. One producer, who asked to remain anonymous, says he started making CBD oil after he was diagnosed with skin cancer more than 10 years ago and has since has been making the oil for others. “I don’t advertise,” he says. “People have just been asking me for it, more and more.”   FM

Dozens of TFG stores damaged during KZN floods

TFG, the owner of retail brands including Foschini, Markham and @home, has had 36 of its stores as well as a cloth warehouse damaged as a result of the severe flooding in KwaZulu-Natal recently.

The retail group does however have the appropriate insurance cover and these damages are not considered to be material in the context of the TFG’s South African operations. All affected stores have since resumed trading.

TFG has also established a task team that is continuously assessing the impact on its employees as well as its business operations. Support has been provided to affected employees where required.
The group is saddened by the recent unprecedented flooding in KZN in South Africa that has caused tremendous devastation across the province. The group is deeply concerned for the well-being of those affected by the flooding and our priority was and is to ensure the safety and welfare of our employees as we work towards fully restoring our operations across the province,” the company said in a trading update this week.

“We are grateful to our response teams, our employees and other stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to support our affected employees and to minimise further damage and losses,” it added.  Bizcommunity

Lu by Lu founder Louie Akenwale talks appropriation and sustainability

By Declan Gibbon

Lu by Lu handbag.

Lagos and London merge sustainably in Akinwale’s latest collection.

Afrofuturism has been a defining fashion movement for the continent in recent years, focusing on a modernist and cosmopolitan perspective through patterns, crafts and representation. Louie Akinwale’s brand Lu by Lu is a Lagos-born atelier providing a new wave of wearability to both high-society and underground movements, viewing the diasporic subculture through a lens of community and the pulse of Afrobeat. Made from sustainable materials, linings sourced from the waste of the West, and beads crafted from recycled materials in Akinwale’s bedrock of Lagos,the bags are as ethical as they are eye-catching. Akinwale himself exudes a raw energy that has served his creative pursuits as a model and creative director well, and is woven into the aesthetics and culture of Lu by Lu.

Who are you?

My name is Louie. I’m 28 and from London. I’m a model, a designer, an art director, and a men’s wear editor for different concept stores. I’ve modelled for Loewe, Stone Island, Gucci Moncler, Armani, and others. I’m very confident in my own way. I like to meet new people and I’ve always got a smile on my face. I live for the moment. I founded Lu by Lu two years ago, and I have been honoured and blown away by the global support and interest in the brand.

Talk about Lu by Lu?

The opportunity to start Lu by Lu presented itself in a really organic way. My mother is a designer and she got sent a bag. I was like, ‘yo, this bag is actually really cool, but it could definitely be elevated, maybe change the silhouette, change the pattern here…”. Lu by Lu started to slowly progress from that. I brought different elements of design, culture and creativity to my own bags. I feel that when you have your own brand, you can express yourself in any way possible — you’ve got something to give. I have always wanted to create a community where people can come, show their talent, and express themselves through the brand.

Everything is beaded and made with recycled plastic.We source the beads, and they are handmade in Nigeria. Our bags use the lining of old bags and make them into our new bags. There’s a lot of waste, as everyone knows, and we used old Michael Kors lining in our bags for a while, all sourced in Lagos. There’s a lot of discarded textiles that land up in Lagos, so we use recycled bits from all over the world. We hand make everything, nothing goes to waste, everything is in component with the bag.

Elaborate on your latest collection?

I shot the collection myself, and it is called Shakara and was inspired by Fela Kuti. Shakara is an Ahwai word meaning to show off or to be brilliant — the work and the collection are very out there. I’m a committee member at Soho house, London, so we filmed it there — they are very supportive of creativity. I focused on cultural appropriation and used all white models. As much as it’s controversial, it’s also honest, because when you’re shopping in the western world, you don’t see African designs. I wanted to just show African designs within a Western context of wealth — they were all wearing African clothing and they didn’t even realise. I was guided by wanting to sell African designs and products in a western context and juxtaposing African design onto them, rather than the other way round. It created a message of embracing foreign cultures and experiencing their clothes. We are all community people, we are all family and we need to portray that sense of community. Fela Kuti was a pioneer, being all about expression and being very loud and bold, and the collection captures that.  Wanted


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The most talked about Oscars dresses of all time

Hilary Swank, 2005

Thanks to a daring backless gown, the Best Actress nominee drew the inevitable comparison of looking like a million bucks

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