For the King

- Legend

“The kings in Rwanda loved weed. Weed in Rwanda was considered as something that was reserved for the kings and the royal families.  So… uh. In Rwanda there are, they say there are three ethnicities.  Twa, Tutsi, Hutu.  The working class was the Hutus.  Hutus was not an ethnicity.  They were the working and lower class.  In my language, Hutus is not really an ethnicity but the working class.  Umutunzi are the bourgeoisie, the rich class.  People who have money. Umutunzi means wealthy, rich.  This later became Tutsi because the colonists could not say Umutunzi.  The colonists wanted to turn it into ethnicities.  And the Hutus, they measured their nose, and said you are different because you have a big nose, you know?  Bullshit you know?  Yeah man, that’s how it is.  Yeah.  And that’s why there was a majority because every Tutsi had like ten Hutus to work for them.  But even still, the Tutsi only smoke tobacco, weed was supreme.  It is for royal family.  It was not something to joke with.  The Twa people don’t give a shit.  They smoke marijuana.  They live in a weird way.  They still hunt things and put it on top of fire, roast it you see.  Stuff like that you see.  They live in a very ancient way you see.  They live in the forest, they never come to town.  They don’t like modern things.  They live in the bush and in the trees like animals.  They say that in Rwanda they know so much about the plants.  One day, they brought weed to the king as a present.  Its good herb that makes you relax. They rolled it for him, then they lighted it, and gave it to him.  Once the king was really happy, and he made a deal with them.  He said he would give them 10 sheeps in return for a months worth of weed.  It became a huge ceremony where people would dance for the King, and then give the weed.  If it was good, he would keep it, if not, he would send it back.  The Twas would line up for the king in a line to give him weed.  If he liked it, they would get sheep’s.  In Rwanda, the king would only eat cows and goats.  And maybe chickens.  But sheep was for the poor people.  So they used to raise sheep’s only for the Twas in order to exchange for weed.” (D.C.)

Informant Analysis:

“This story just tries to show how…it shows how different the views are in my country than here when talking about marijuana.  Even though it is illegal now, you know, it was no joke in Rwanda.  It was a ceremony. It was a way of life for the Twas.  They traded it for food, for sheeps. It was the plant for royalty, not for the Hutus or the poorer people.” (D.C.)

Collector Analysis:

Casa does a fantastic job in analyzing his story.  It is truly incredible to note how different the perceptions of weed are across time and culture.  This legend recounts the tale of the forest dwellers and their journey to the king.  Although these people, the Twas, were poor and uncivilized, they possessed something that the King wanted but did not know how to provide for himself.  The Twas used this to their advantage, and maintained the good favor of the king with the use of songs, dances, and ceremonies.  In exchange for their precious plant, the King provided sheep.  Interestingly, the king had no use for the sheep other than to trade for cannabis.  Also, it should be noted that despite the clout and esteem of the Tutsis, even they were generally unable to smoke marijuana.  They were instead limited to tobacco.  Thus it would seem that in Rwanda, cannabis exists as the plant of kings, and the herb of royalty.

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