WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PRIDE OF BEING AN AFRICAN WOMAN?
By: Thobile Ntombela
Remember the days when you thought snuff was used only by the elderly? Well, some people still think that way. But, have you asked yourself when did they start using snuff?
They started when they were younger and grew into it. Traditionally snuff (smokeless, brownish tobacco) also loosely known as ‘Intsu’ is inhaled or used orally, but nowadays women have their own ways of using it.
Many young women, mostly from the townships, stuff tobacco in their mouths while others apply it to their vaginas.
According to the Medical Research Council, snuff use is low in South Africa and accounts for about six percent of all tobacco use.
21-year-old Thandiwe Cele started by chewing Kuber (chewing tobacco disguised as a mouth freshener) but when shops stopped supplying it she had to find an alternative drug to replace it.
“I heard that snuff was the same as Kuber and I started using it. I chew about three table spoons of snuff per day and just can’t cope without it because I can’t even think if I didn’t take it. Intsu is affordable. It only cost me two rand to buy it,” said Cele.
Although young women use snuff, they are fully aware of the dangers it has on their bodies but they prefer to ignore it. Lizzy Zulu (27) denies that she could contract any diseases through her use of this substance..
“I have been using Intsu for about fifteen years now and I haven’t had any problems and it boosts my energy and sexual pleasure. I also know of many women who started using Intsu a long time ago but they don’t have any cancer,” said Zulu.
Janet Zulu, a traditional healer, says that the way the youth of today is behaving shows no respect to their culture because they are abusing snuff.
“I sell snuff here at my house and the most embarrassing thing is that my customers who buy everyday are young girls,” said Janet Zulu.
The usage of snuff has now become common in schools, colleges and universities.
Thembeka Mtetwa, a 21-year-old college student. She added, “Most of the girls at college say that we are not in style because we don’t use Intsu, but the thing I hate about it is that girls dispose the containers and tissues everywhere and spit the snuff on the sink that we all use.”
Many people use snuff for headaches, not realizing that they are getting addicted to it. Nomzamo Zikhali said that she used snuff every time she suffered from headaches until she couldn’t go on a day without it.
“I started to realize that I always had this headache and no matter how many pain killers I took, it got worse; but when I took snuff the pain stopped,” said Zikhali.
The future of this country lies in the hands of the young and it starts today. Wouldn’t you be proud having a cancer-free South Africa, knowing that you had played a positive role in it?