The Cult Fighting Against Cannabis legalization has made breaking headlines for horrendous accusations. Major brand aQuellé bottled water tainted too in a scandal that’s only beginning to unravel.

Sometimes a tale has so many beginnings that it’s difficult to tell where to even start. The home of this story is the KwaSizabantu Mission nestled in the picturesque Valley of a Thousand Hills. Home to a community first founded in the 1960’s after an evangelic spiritual experience, it has since then become enormously successful in both its religious and business endeavors. Most notably for being the home of aQuellé bottled water.


Some truly heavy and hard to hear allegations have been unearthed by a recent News24 expose. A seven month investigation has revealed what appears to be a church of horrors. Those who have the heart and the stomach to watch the documentary will witness a trifecta of psychological, physical and sexual abuse claims. Some of which involved children as young as 5 years old. All carried out under the vale of fighting evil through a culture of fear and divine retribution. An investigation being carried out by the HAWKS regarding a possibly laundered R150 million is also raising a lot of eyebrows. While major retailers such as Game, Makro, Spar, Woolworths and Food Lover’s Market have already started pulling any related products from their shelves. Some major brands and events have however continued to support aQuelle.

Cult Fighting Against Cannabis

My first experience with this “cult” was live on a SABC Newsroom interview. A young and passionate lady from the Concerned Young People of South Africa organization sat opposite me. She valiantly made her case on why dagga was the devil and achieved viral fame. Little did I know that this was my first glimpse of a much bigger picture.


The alarm bells really started ringing a couple of years ago when The Traditional and Natural Health Alliance reported that bussed in anti-cannabis protestors outside court and leading attorneys against legalization inside court both had very close relationships with KwaSizabantu Mission. That’s when the smoke finally cleared and I realised that Concerned Young People of SA, Doctors for Life and KwaSizabantu Mission were working in a trinity.

Doctors for Life had taken it upon themselves to guard the country’s morality. They have been the most vocal opposition when it comes to cannabis legalisation. Never missing an opportunity to vilify the plant. If someone in the news has ever kind of told you that dagga is low key the devil, it was probably Doctors for Life. Their CEO, Dr Albu Van Eeden, has long had a very close and public relationship with KwaSizabantu Mission as they share a strategic partnership. As well as being a prominent preacher and brand ambassador for them. Possibly casting light on where some of their anti-cannabis funding is coming from and raising an awkward question. Is Doctors for Life complicit or entangled in any of these allegations?

This is just one of the many threads leading back to what is being described as a cult that has broken homes and ruined lives in its pursuit of a greater good. And that’s something that’s difficult to overlook. Not only because it shows the lengths that some will go to to create their own vision of the world. But also how little they will feel for you or I when it comes to preserving that precious vision.

It’s not all bad though?

A part of me has always respected the strength of conviction that the likes of Doctors for Life and Concerned Young People of South Africa posses, despite having many times being on the receiving end of it. I also admired the good work that they undoubtedly do. Now that same part of me however empathizes with them for building a castle of good intentions on the sand. And possibly also being victims. If there is one thing that the devil has taught me. It’s that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Whether any of the victims or accused will have their day in court remains to be seen. It may also all soon be forgotten news in what has been a turbulent year.