There’s much one can find in the media these days about cannabis activists fighting in court, taking to the streets protesting in marches and such. But quietly and surely, one humble rastafari lady is leading the way for cannabis in South Africa. No media hype, no protests, no fan clubs, yet she is on a mission across the country, planning, educating and preparing the people for the future of the Cannabis industry, bringing hope and job opportunity to the unemployed, less fortunate & IKS communities. This is her story.

Cannabis Queen of the South – Thandeka Ruth Kunene (House of Hemp)

“ House of Hemp was founded and continues to be directed by a woman we aren’t afraid to call a visionary. She is a leader in the developing cannabis and hemp industries in South Africa. Her knowledge, experience and high-level government connections span decades of research and development.

Her name is Dr. Thandeka Ruth Kunene. For several years, Dr. Kunene worked for UNIDO and the Commonwealth Secretariat, served as a member of the Advisory Board at Global Hemp Group, Inc, and was instrumental in creating two of the industry’s most important industry groups: the National Hemp Foundation and the Global Natural Fibre Forum. But she was equally driven to promote entrepreneurship among black women, along with alleviating poverty and environmental damage through the use of natural fibres. Her main focus was hemp, because of its incredible versatility.

In 1998 she combined these two visions, founding House of Hemp in Johannesburg.

House of Hemp is now a member of the National Hemp Foundation (NHF), and has served as the convener of the NHF’s Human Resource Development Group (in the first phase). They are currently the coordinators of the NHF’s Private Sector Working  Group. to cultivate and process hemp & cannabis

In 2010, HOH became the first private company to be awarded an exclusive permit from the Departments of Agriculture and Health to legally cultivate and process hemp in South Africa. Because they wanted to reliably expand into the budding industrial market, they sought an exclusive permit from the Departments of Agriculture and Health to not only import hemp, but also to legally cultivate and process it in South Africa. In 2010, HOH became the first private company to be awarded such a permit.”

As well as supplying hemp fibres and oils, HOH also research and supply by-products like tow, biomass, dust, and seedcake. These have enormous promise as sustainable replacement materials in all kinds of industries globally.ea

In 2015, in partnership with the South African Departments of Agriculture and Health, the University of the Free State, and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), HOH began conducting research into medical Cannabis. Our focus is on CBD strains, which they cultivate and process at Dube Agrizone in our 40 000 m2 of greenhouse space.

The medical potential there is extremely exciting, and they were privileged to be on the leading edge of this growing movement.


On July 18, 2017, House of Hemp sold a 60% interest to Canadian venture capital firm LGC, and its strategic partner in Africa, AfriAg. With the additional resources of this partnership, they will be focusing on increasing their growing footprint at Dube, so as to produce export-quantities of high-grade medical cannabis.

The Queens Kingdom

Above, you can see an aerial shot of “Block D” cultivation and processing site at Dube Tradeport’s AgriZone complex. It’s 40 000 m2 of secure, temperature-regulated and humidity-controlled greenhouse under glass, with refrigerated pack houses, laboratories and offices. It’s the most eco-friendly and high-tech facility in Africa and it’s where House of Hemp are ramping up R&D of high CBD medicinal cannabis. – Courtesy of House of Hemp


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