The burgeoning SA cannabis industry has taken a foundational step forward with the announcement from trailblazer, Cheeba Africa that they are opening the first dedicated cannabis education campus on the African continent. Cheeba Africa has already established a solid online education offering through its international partnership with Medical Marijuana 411 – the global leader in medical cannabis education with operations in the US, Japan, Europe and South America. This gives them access to a global cannabis education think tank ensuring students get top quality, vetted and up to date content. Thanks to Cheeba Africa we will soon see a campus in Gauteng dedicated to cannabis.
Unlocking the potential value of Africa’s legal cannabis industry is going to require a skilled workforce and a robust cannabis entrepreneurship ecosystem, which, in turn, depends on the availability and accessibility of quality cannabis training and education that is aligned to global best practise and tailored to the South African and African context.
Cheeba Cannabis Academy is opening the doors of its new campus in Vereeniging, 40 minutes south of Johannesburg, in March 2021 and course registration is now open. The extensive, COVID-compliant facility includes a 120-seater auditorium, eight lecture halls and on-site accommodation for 190 students. Set in picturesque grounds, there are also two social dining venues, various sports and recreational facilities and 24hr security. Cannabis grow tunnels and a Qure cannabis testing lab are being established on campus, and a cannabis private members club known as ‘Onder Die Boom’ is being launched to ensure students have exposure to real working cannabis environments.
Their full time 3 month course with a 1 month internship is endorsed by the University of Limpopo / Edupark and on successful completion of the course students will be awarded a certificate of completion from the University. Professor Jo Nel, CEO of Edupark says, “Our motto is ‘Empowerment for all.’ Through our partnership with Cheeba Cannabis Academy, we hope that the small-scale farmers and communities will be trained to play a meaningful and profitable role in the production of a variety of products related to cannabis. It should not be left to the industrial behemoths to monopolize the emerging market.”
This is a view shared by Cheeba Africa CEO and co-founder Trenton Birch who sees significant opportunities not just for enhancing employment, but the sustainable development of diverse small, medium and large cannabis enterprises in under-served communities and rural areas. He says, “It all starts with quality, inclusive cannabis education focused on developing community-based leaders for the country’s cannabis industry. Our new campus has been set up in an established training centre through our partnership with PSL Training to specifically deliver an optimal cannabis student experience. From the curriculum to the indoor and outdoor learning and social spaces, and including the partnerships that we have established to fully support the campus and our students, we are fostering an equitable learning environment. If you can’t, or don’t like to learn online, you now have the exciting in-person, hands-on learning option to develop the skills you need to be successful in the cannabis industry.”
Other strategic partnerships with the Vaal University of Technology’s cannabis research partner, ICBT Cannabis Research Division / Cannabisness PTY LTD and a neighbouring SAHPRA-licensed cannabis farm, CBD Full Spectrum provides Cheeba Africa students with experiential learning interventions in diverse working environments. The advantage of Cheeba Africa’s long-standing relationships in South Africa’s cannabis environment is that students will also be immersed in a vibrant and supportive cannabis ecosystem that includes recruitment partner, 9th Wave which manages the academy’s internship programme and helps to place qualified students in the industry. Tamatie partners with the academy to support Cheeba Africa’s advanced growing courses where amateur growers become masters of professional growing and the campus has partnered with Green Smoke Room (genetics partner), Marijuana SA (grow store partner), Grow More (compliance partner) and The Seven Leaf (media / content partner).
Linda Siboto, Cheeba Africa co-founder concludes, “Cheeba Cannabis Academy students will be encouraged to engage with important, reputable industry players including seed banks, equipment suppliers and compliance experts. These vital connections and networks are critical to their success once they are ready to forge careers or start-up businesses. It brings us together in a local cannabis industry that is underpinned by world-leading education and committed to creating a responsible, long-lived, inclusive and thriving cannabis industry in South Africa, and Africa.”
The first course available at Cheeba Cannabis Academy’s Gauteng campus is the full-time, four-month Cannabis Industry 101 Course which includes a one-month internship.