What is Nyaope (Whoonga)? What Are The Ingredients and Effects of the Drug Cocktail on the Body?

While the crime rate in South Africa has constantly been on the increase, the drug market is also not in any way slowing down. Alcohol and other popular substances like marijuana remain widely popular, however, a new entrant which is making it big is Nyaope. In recent times, substance abuse in South Africa has taken a turn for the worse, such that one out of every 15 people of its population of about 54 million, suffers drug addiction. That being said, it is no news that the use of drugs in South Africa is twice the norm in the world.

According to studies, the majority of those engaged in substance abuse in South Africa began even before their teenage years. While there are different reasons pushed forward for the early use of drugs, peer pressure is seen as its major cause. Drug use and abuse have a massive and crystal link with delinquency. The problem, however, has been that it cannot be established if delinquency drives drug abuse or drug abuse drives delinquency.

What Exactly is Nyaope?

Also known as Whoonga, Woonga, or Wunga, Nyaope is a popular street drug in South Africa. While it has been around in the country for some time, it came to full prominence in 2009. Mostly found in the slums of South Africa, Nyaope was said to have originated from the suburbs of Durban but today, it has spread to other parts of the Rainbow Nation.

Described as a “cruelest high” by Aljazeera in 2010, the dangerous drug is able to spread really fast courtesy of its ability to get one high very quickly. Although the “highness” that the drug can give is cheap in the monetary sense, the long-term effect is not in any way cheap. According to South Africa’s Federation for Mental Health, there is a very high rate of non-recovery associated with the drug.

Nyaope was noted to be used as a recreational drug, because of its ability to generate intense feelings of extreme happiness, relaxation, and contentment. While it can be smoked or injected, the methods of preparing the injection differs. Seen as one of the most dangerous drugs in South Africa, Whoonga has become greatly in use by people in the slum areas of South Africa. Not just the poor and jobless adults but also young school children also indulge in it. More so, it has also been discovered that dealers usually wrap the substance in biscuits, chips, and other packages.

What Are The Ingredients?

What makes many people skeptical about Whoonga is its make. That is also why it is seen as highly dangerous, coupled with its concoction of various harmful substances. Some of the various ingredients believed to make up Nyaope include the following:

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1. Antiretroviral Drugs: It is claimed that this drug is the most popular of all the ingredients for Nyaope. As alleged, dealers in the drugs either get these antiretroviral drugs that are meant to be distributed free to HIV patients by either buying them through dubious means or robbing HIV patients. The use of antiretroviral drugs has however been contested.

2. Marijuana: Marijuana is another very popular ingredient for Nyaope drugs.

3. Cannabis, Heroine, or Methamphetamine: According to different sources, Whoonga is said to also contain cannabis and methamphetamine or heroin. Others say it contains rat poison and detergent powder, etc.

What Does Nyaope Do To Your Body?


The contents or ingredients found in Nyaope are what actually made it worst among other drugs in South Africa. The drug is dangerous, easy to get addicted to, and very hard to recover from its addiction. Signs of usage and addiction include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Being secretive and suspicious
  • Change in sleeping pattern
  • Developing a low appetite for food
  • Sudden weight change
  • Change in color of eyes
  • Body odor
  • Deteriorating physical condition
  • Impaired conditions or tremors and slurred speech.

Although different other drugs can cause most of these, in South Africa the likelihood that Nyaope is causing all these is very high.

The side effects of the whoonga are said to include the following:

  • Higher chances to commit a crime
  • Agonizing stomach cramps
  • It opens one up to contacting dangerous diseases like HIV and AIDS when it leads to promiscuity, plus addicts are likely to share needles.
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety and constant sweating
  • Body pain and mind alteration
  • Mental Illness
  • Death

Some reported incidences caused by Nyaope include a young lady who abandoned her children and home for the drug. Another case was that of two addicts who stabbed each other for R2, leading to the death of one. There have also been reports in Tshwane where smokers of the drug damaged headstones and ornaments in the Mabopane cemetery.

Because of the disturbing effects of this substance abuse in South Africa, various individuals and groups are seriously advocating for ways its spread can be checked. More so, some correctional facilities in the country are devoting much time to solving the menace. Other drugs in South Africa which can easily be bought include dagga and khat.

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Andile Smith
Andile Smith
Andile provides articles on anything from Politics, Sports, History and entertainment to funny, creepy and weird. His passion for writing allows him to take what is ordinary and transform it into a real masterpiece. He's a true storyteller with a passion for tech and literature
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