Herb of the Rescuer

– Saying

Agatabi n’akotsi k’abatabazi

Weed is the smoke of the rescuer

Informant Analysis:

“Umm the warriors.  The most like valuable warriors is Rwanda.  They had the right to smoke weed.  Sometime the king give it to them.  They say Agatabi n’akotsi k’abatabazi. In English they mean to say weed is the smoke of saviors or something like that.  How do you say to rescue? … Weed is the smoke of the rescuer. It means that people who smoke weed are more awake than people who don’t, man.  You more, you more ready, or something like that, to save, or to rescue.  Its umm, it like grows your awareness.  This is why aside from royalty only the warriors were to smoke weed, as they were the saviors.  But now people repeat this saying in order to question why it is prohibit to us from smoking.  Weed is illegal in Rwanda. Everyone knew that it was only for the King, right.  When the colonists came, everything changed.  It became a little bit more western, and they lost many customs, man.  Weed also became a regular drug, as it is everywhere around the world.  It then became illegal in Rwanda, because it is illegal everywhere else.”

Personal Analysis:

It seems this Haitian saying implies that cannabis increases one’s awareness.   According to the informant, it was used not only by the king, but by the warriors as well.  Judging by the fact that the king gave it to them, it might even be seen as a form of payment.  However, the increased sense of awareness may be beneficial to a warrior who must be aware and on guard at all times.  The informant states that it makes them “more ready to rescue”.  It is possible that this may be a function of cannabis on not just a physical level, but on a philosophical level as well.

More interesting than the origin of the saying, is the new application and context in which this saying is used.  When the colonists came to Rwanda, cannabis was soon made illegal.  It appears that this may have significantly altered a part of Rwandan culture.  Now, it appears this saying is used in order question the illegalization.   The warriors that fought to protect the land in the past have been replaced by those that now fight to restore, or rescue, a piece of Rwandan culture.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.