n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Learners' views on the use of dagga

Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The aim of this study was exploratory and to acquire descriptive information from learners to assist schools with the assessment of dagga-related problems. The sample consisted of a total of 2003 learners from 35 schools in the N-3 district (now district 4) in Tshwane. Most of the respondents were female learners (56.6%) while males constituted 43.4 percent of the sample. Of the respondents, 5.4 percent were from Grade 7, and 42.5 percent and 52.1 percent respectively from Grades 10 and 11. Most of the pupils were black (41.7%), followed by whites (37.9%), Indian (10.7%) and coloureds (9.7%). The survey was conducted in the first semester of 2000.

Results indicated that a substantial percentage (33.6%) of the group admitted to smoking dagga before. More than one-third (35.0%) of those respondents who answered in the affirmative, started to use dagga before the age of twelve years. Almost three-quarters (74.1%) of the dagga smokers in the group cited friends as the reason they started. The influence of siblings (31.9%) was given as another important reason for starting to use dagga. A considerable number of learners who had not tried dagga credited themselves (84.2%) and their parents (67.4%) for their decision. The significance of this finding is that parents have a huge influence over their children's decisions.

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