Season One: Episode 2 - shrooms at 70
In the early hours of one December morning in 2014, eight armed police officers burst into an ordinary-looking house in a very normal street in Somerset West just outside Cape Town.
Earlier that night, an elderly and quite confused man had stumbled into the police station claiming that there were strange goings on at the house, odd rituals were being enacted and illegal substances being given out by the owner, 69-year-old former nurse, Monica Cromhout. She must be arrested at once, he said. So they duly sped off in two squad cars.
They weren’t quite prepared for what they found; a group of middle-class, middle-aged people quietly tripping out on mushrooms. And it was true, Monica was the ring-leader. But this wasn’t quite the den of vice and depravity that the police had expected.
In the second episode of the podcast, First Person, Marianne Thamm uncovers the incredible story of how Monica, now 71, went from conventional, teetotalling, law-abiding grandmother to South Africa’s psychedelic mushroom champion. She also explores what led Monica to embark on this extraordinary journey of discovery and how now, she’s at the forefront of the legal drive to have South Africa’s drugs laws declared unconstitutional.
Get it here in Episode 2 of First Person.
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