Coronation Day – November 2, 1930: 88 Years of Haile Selassie I

The 88th Anniversary of the Coronation HIM Haile Selassie I

Haile Selassie's Coronation Day


The Rastafarians (or Ras Tafarians), members of a political-religious movement among the black population of Jamaica,worship Haile Selassie I, "Might of the Trinity." His original name was Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975), and he was emperor of Ethiopia under the name Ras (meaning "Prince") Tafari.
Rastafarians consider the Ethiopian emperor the Messiah and son of God, and the champion of their race. Their beliefs, which combine political militancy and religious mysticism, include tabooson funerals, second-hand clothing, physical contact with whites, the eating of pork, and all magic and witchcraft.
The Rastafarians' most important celebration is the anniversary of Haile Selassie's Coronation Day, which occurred on November 2, 1930. The dedication of babies to Ras Tafari, recitations, and singing are typically part of the celebrations on this day.
DictWrldRel-1989, p. 601

Hidden Hebrew History - Lion Of Judah Coronation: Haile Selassie I, King of Kings of Ethiopia 1930

Ethiopia Coronation 1930 Haile Selassie


The Amharic Alphabet

Ethiopia is found in horn of Africa. And the language Amharic (presented in this app) is used by considerable amount of Ethiopians including majority of settlers in the capital city Addis Ababa. 
This simple app teaches: the order of the Amharic alphabet, how the Amharic characters look and how the Amharic characters sounds. It also has a game to challenge how much you know the Amharic alphabet and it also makes you able to make up words and sentences and hear how they sound. See how your name is pronounced Enjoy!
It also make you able to copy-paste Amharic in any application, be it facebook, SMS, gmail, twitter, etc with the system wide floating icon (the system wide floating shortcut can be turned off on setting if it is bothering you.) 
Long Live Ethiopia!





“Jah standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judges amongst the gods. 
How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. 
Defend the poor and fatherless, do justice to the afflicted and needy. 
Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hands of the wicked. 
They do not know the Almighty Jah Rastafari, neither do they iverstand, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are unstable. 
InI i have said, you are Rasses and all of you are children of the Most High Jah Rastafari. 
But you shall die like men and fall like one of the princes. 
Arise O’ Jah Rastafari; judge the earth, for thou shall inherit all nations .Selah. Psalm 82


‘He who would be a leader must pay the price of self –discipline and moral restraint. This entails the correction and improvement of his personal character, the checking of passions and desires and an exemplary control of one’s bodily needs and desires.’ ‘Q’damawi Haile Selassie.

Among the general code of the Rastafari Code of Conduct is said that InI said that InI should: “Abide by the laws and teachings of H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I, the principles and practices of The Elders, Patriarchs and Matriarchs and the laws of Nature written in the hearts of human kind.

In these times of trials and tribulation nothing will come easy; even the righteous will be tempted, even friend will become enemy, even those loyal to the throne room will break ranks for crumbs on the table. What Woe in a Babylon! What a Woe!

It was not expected that in the house of Jah Rastafari there would be a mutiny, or some would prefer the word ‘coup’. Such is the reality that InI now face; when you rise up against your own Constitution or guide lines, it is treason at all levels.

The Nyah Binghi Guidelines clearly state in the section “The Priesthood” which consists of seven administrating Priests including the High Priest that:
“The Priesthood is looked upon for wise decisions and council and is key representative of the Nyah Binghi order. The signature from the priesthood is required on all communication sent out from the house.”
The section Council of Elders states that:
“The Council of Elders consists of elder brethrens of the house who have maintained the livity of Rastafari over a number of years. Their decision is always required and where there are differences of opinion, the Council is called upon to make a ruling. The Council of Elders functions as guardians of the movement and are treated with great respect.
Now concerning the Priest, the Feta Negus states that:
“No one shall think evil of a priest. No one except his superior shall judge him according to the cannon law. As regard such priest, the scribes and the Pharisees and all things thereof, whatsoever they shall do to you or seek to do, observe and move but you shall not do according to their work. A person who judges him, if he live an excellent life, he will exercise care according to the word of our Lord who said: Judge not that you may not be judged—–“

The High Priest Ancient George Ions has made a collective decision within the Priesthood and the Council of Ancients, regarding Sizzla Kalonji:
*   As the safe keeper of the Nyah Binghi stamp and seal until the office building on the Scotts Nyah Binghi grounds is completed;
*   As “President, Theocracy, Reign Order of the Nyah Binghi and the Movement” for the Repatriation black people to Africa;
*   Ancient Bongo Tawney now an ancestor and former chair of the Council of Ancients had appointed Sizzla Kalonji as the treasurer of the Ancient Council.

Is the wise mind of InI Ancients no longer valid? This is a dilemma for many,, while for some it will be a time for reflection. The more vocal among the Rasses are now commanding media attention and will find themselves into a firestorm of words, thus for every action there is a equal and opposite reaction.

Many are now up in arms and saying this and that. All these Rastafari intellects who should have known better have abandoned the 22 resolutions of the Rastafari International theocracy Assembly (RITA). It was agreed then that:
*  The Rastafari International Divine Order of the Nyah Binghi should be the responsible source to provide spiritual guidance regarding Rastafari Religious Foundation and Livitical Authority.
*  The Administration of the Rastafari community should be handled at two distinct levels ; Rastafari International Secretariat and a Rastafari Theocracy Government (functional).

Why do so many who have gained Babylon education, instead of making meaningful itributions to Rastafari sustainable development, prefer to work for Babylon and foolishly try to beat up on the Nyah Binghi priesthood and Council of Ancients? It won’t work in this time. It is your duty to give a strength and not to tear apart. What a judgment!!

Jah Rastafari calls upon the youths because they are strong, technology ready, knowledgeable and resourceful. It is about full time to clear the age hurdle within the Order of the Nyah Binghi. It is discriminatory, and so many willing and able youths are blocked out because of age criteria and inflexible categories to serve at top levels. Yes I hear the Fiyah Bun.

Rastafari youths of ability and good intent should be should be given the opportunity to build capacity with the Ancients and offer their expertise. The youths are aware that they are not Ancients, but to sit among Ancients is very rewarding in this time. Failing to do that, Babylon will surely absorb the youths and weaken the foundation already set by those who have gone before.

The Nyah Binghi Royal Creed of  ‘Let the hungry be fed, the naked clothed, the sick nourished, the infants cared for, and the aged protected’ cannot be fulfilled with mere words. Some will say “It takes cash to care”, therefore InI give thanks for “Word sound power collective” WSPC and their livication to Ancients needs, and to “Iniversal Development of Rastafari” IDOR who have done the same. There are also many individuals outside of these two organizations who have given financial support or otherwise to Ancients over the many years. I salute you all.

Now the Administrative Council of the Theocratic Reign Order of the Nyah Binghi (Jamaica), although not listed within the Nyah Binghi guide lines, was given the secular duties of the Council of Ancients. Over a period of time the relationship with the Administrative and Ancient Council became unstable, due to the lack of transparency in critical areas of administration such as proving financial reports, information on business transactions and Minutes of meetings.

The Administrative Council seems to forget that the Ancients are the custodians of the livity and traditions of the Rastafari movement, thus they as students should be mindful in addition to their modern education.
“We should be aware, more than ever before, not to allow discord amongst us. We must close ranks and discharge our obligation in harmony and unity of vision and purpose.”-Utterance of Q’damawi Haile Selassie.HIM1

In the desperation of those who should have known better, the internal affairs of the Council of Ancients have spilled out on the Jamaican radio waves and cyberspace. A very unpleasant choice of words was used by many edgy people to describe the Ancients and certain individuals. As a result of this the Council of Ancients sat and made their declaration to seal the matter with apology to none.

What is hidden in the dark must come to light; know that all secret plots must be revealed. The Administrative Council had their set agenda. In a plot to overrule the Council of Ancients’ decisions and to force High Priest George Ions and others into early retirement, the Administrative Council called for a vote of no confidence of those accused during the Sunday reasoning of the 82nd Coronation anniversary at the Pitfour Nyah Binghi Center.
It is definitely not constitutional for the Administrative Council to rule on the Priesthood. That is the duty of the seven Ilected Priests and the Council of Ancients, thus they overstepped their authority by doing so.

Concerning the Nyah Binghi Stamp and Seal, it is in the safe keeping of Sizzla Kalonji, the Treasurer of the Ancient Council, until the office building at Scotts Pass is completed. This decision caused a lot of huff and puff to blow the house down, but it did not happen.
As a result of this discord, two choices were presented by the Administrative Council at 2nd November 2012 Binghi at Granville Pit Four, which were: (1) return the Stamp and Seal by any means necessary or (2) replace the Stamp and Seal and declare the new one to the Global Rastafari family. So why, when this mandate was given to the Administrative Council they made a “Press Release” exposing their bitterness and discrediting the Ancient Priest and others among him?  Is that following protocol, when the Administrative Council defies the instructions of those who support them and now continues on their own personal rampage? Can the Council of Ancients now have the Administrative Council in trust to manage their affairs, I now ask?

In all what InI set out to accomplish “We must also remember the reality of today is different from the realities of yesterday .We must understand we cannot turn the clock backwards. In this world of today we must strive to what we set for ourselves to achieve””-Utterance of Q’damawi Haile Selassie.

So touch not the Lord anointed and do his prophets no harm. Many will rise up against the Council of Ancients, but truths and rights will prevail and morality will lead the way.
Thanks giving and blessings

Ras Flako Tafari (Chair, Rastafari Think Tank)

Rastafari Earth Festival – A Celebration of One Love

Rastafari Earth Festival – A Celebration of One Love

Friday, 10 June 2016 01:50Written by  Lisa Leslie
Courtesy of

July 23rd marks the birthday (or what is referred to as the ‘earth day’) of the Rastafarian’s spiritual messiah, His Majesty Haile Selassie I. The annual Earth Festival, which takes place from the 22nd to 30th July 2017, honours this special date on their religious calender and is a joyous and colourful celebration of this fascinating and vibrant Knysna community. It also serves as a platform for these residents to openly share with others the traditions and roots of their faith.

Judah Square is South Africa’s largest Rastafarian community, and is based in a small river valley in the Khayalethu township of Knysna. It was established in 1993 in a stance of solidarity against the suppression of their religious and social belief systems. Before Judah Square was formed, this community was a largely misunderstood and marginalised minority. After negotiations with the Knysna Municipality, they were granted a portion of land on which to settle, which marked the beginning of their positive and collective upliftment. Although there are many Rasta families living within this community, their spiritual union is such that they are in effect one large extended family.

Judah Square is the administrative Rastafarian capital of the Southern Cape and this annual festival draws both members and non-members from across South Africa and abroad. The festival includes 7 days of Nyahbingh (church) services and then 3 days of music, concluding in the Emancipation Celebration, which celebrates the abolition of slavery (Slavery was abolished in Jamaica on August 1st 1834).

The Emancipation Celebration includes a host of musical acts, dancing and the singing of old traditional songs. Members wear traditional dress and many tell stories and recite poems. This is a family day open to the public, and people are encouraged to celebrate their freedom through various forms of expression. Tourists are welcome to bring their cameras and come enjoy and learn what Emancipation Day is all about.

Mark you calender for this year’s Earth Festival, an uplifting celebration of freedom and a visual feast of red, green and gold!

For more information visit:

Semilla Negra – Program 35: Mountains of African music

Semilla Negra – Program 35: Mountains of African music

Courtesy of

We are already in July and, like every year, two music festivals center the road map of ethnic sounds in Spain. They are two veteran competitions that have overcome difficult economic times to bring to our country good selections of groups from five continents. And this year, as is tradition, Africa brings a good handful of artists. Semilla Negra , the musical program of the Blog África Vive, invites you to know what will come from Africa at the festivals La Mar de Músicas (Cartagena) and Pirineos Sur(Huesca). In strict chronological order we started at the Aragonese festival, which reaches its twenty-first edition. Between July 13 and 28, in Sallent de Gállego, Africans will come from Morocco, Algeria, Ethiopia, Gambia, Angola and Mali.

Components of Ethiopian group Ethiocolor

Components of Ethiopian group Ethiocolor

Ten artists integrate the offer of African music from the South Pyrenees, a festival in which Casa África collaborates. The African route will start this Sunday, July 15, with one of the most courageous proposals of the Huesca contest. Fábrica de Rimas is the slogan of the concert that will bring together three sets of hip hopfrom three continents: the Moroccan trio H-Kayne, the Colombian quartet C15 and the Spanish rapper of Argentine origin LE Flaco. Together they will write the first chapter of a project based on the use of urban music as a tool for social cohesion. This meeting, to which are added parallel activities such as graffiti or break-dance, will travel later to Medellín (Colombia) and Meknes (Morocco), the cities of origin of the two invited foreign groups.

Two days later, on July 17, Casa África will be celebrating with the visit of the Ethiocolor group and the Munit & Jörg duo, two of the three proposals that were selected during the last edition of the Vis à Visinitiative held at the beginning of February in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Ethiocolor is a large music and dance formation led by the dancer Melaku Belay and the singer Munit Belay. With traditional instruments such as the washint flute, the masinko violin, the kebero percussion or the Ethiopian lyre called kirar, Ethiocolor makes a kind of folk-popwith dances from the gurage, konso and wolaita ethnic groups, stitched with traditional sounds from the country of the imperial musicians Mulatu Astatke, Tilahun Gessese and Mahmoud Ahmed. Together with this group, Pirineos Sur programs the performance of the duo formed by the Ethiopian singer Munit Mesfin and the German guitarist Jörg Pfeil, whose repertoire combines their own songs in the Amharic and English languages ​​along with versions of Bob Marley and Tilahun Gessese.

Munit & Jörg

Munit & Jörg won, together with Ethiocolor, the latest edition of Vis-a-Vis

We continue the African route through the South Pyrenees. On July 21st, the Huesca festival offers another double program, this time with the Algerian-born musician Kamel El Harrachi and the Malian duo formed by the guitarist Amadou Bagayoko and the singer Mariam Doumbia. Perhaps the name of the young Maghrebi musician does not call attention to the first, but if we clarify that he is the son of the legendary author and singer Dahmane El Harrachi you can get an idea of ​​where the thing is going. Dahmane The Harrachi was one of the pioneers of the chaâbi song in the Algeria of the twentieth century Ecuador. Author, among others, of the emblematic piece Ya rayah, emigrant in France and returned to Algeria prior to the civil war of the 90s, El Harrachi left a vast legacy of popular music that now his son claims in the album Ghana fenou . The western audience of the Amadou & Mariam couple, two Malian musicians who jumped to the big European market with the disc Dimanche à Bamako , under the production of Manu Chao, has a greater degree of knowledge . Since then, the current trajectory of Amadou & Mariam continues to grow with collaborations with musicians as disparate as the New York group TV on the Radio or Wilco guitarist Nels Cline. In the Pirineos Sur festival they will present the songs of their new album, Folila .

The fourth night of African music at the Huesca festival will present the Moroccan musician Barry. Really named Mohammed Bahri, born 32 years ago in Casablanca, Barry joined the pioneering group of Moroccan rap musicians CasaMuslim and later joined Barry and Survivors. In 2005 he recorded the song Labelisé , which became a youth anthem in his country. Similar success reached with the song Dear mama before delivering the album Sleeping system (2006). In South Pyrenees, Barry will perform several of the songs from his new album, Siba , in which he combines rap with pop aromas and Moroccan rock stitching .

Three days later, on July 24, the British musician Justin Adams will return to the Spanish stage with his cross-cultural project along with the Gambia’s Juliot Camara. Acclaimed since its release with the album Soul science , recorded in 2007, Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara will present songs from their latest production In trance , where this transcontinental couple combines sounds from jazz, reggae and dub with deep African vocal laments, guitar scratches and bouncy melodies. “Recording this album was a bit like controlling a runaway horse that is terrified,” explains Justin Adams, who previously collaborated with PiL, Brian Eno and Sinead O’Connor.

The Moroccan rap group H-Kayne

The Moroccan rap group H-Kayne

The following day, July 25, Pirineos Sur will host the presentation of Batida, the new project of the Angolan-Portuguese Pedro Coquenao, better known as DJ Mpula. A native of Huambo (Angola), but raised in a suburb of Lisbon, this radio and documentary broadcaster reflects in his sonorous work the diverse influence of the cities of Europe and Africa with an agile combination of urban elements and music from the 60s and 70 with new rhythms like kuduro . And on July 27, one of the new values ​​of the African Mediterranean song returns to Spanish stages. Since its appearance in 1997, the young Algerian singer Souad Massi has developed an artistic career that matches her talent to the tradition of the Maghrebi song. Although it was not until 2005, with the publication of the album Mesk Eli, produced by the influential Jean Lamoot, usual partner of Salif Keita, when Souad Massi dazzled half the world with his Arabian melismas. His most recent work, Ô Houria , produced two years ago with the French singer Francis Cabrel (with whom he sings Toute reste à faire ), will center his long-awaited performance on the final stretch of the Pirineos Sur festival.

To close the African festival at the Huesca festival, and with this we complete the musical road map that Semilla Negradedicated to the twenty-first edition of Pirineos Sur, the national auditorium of Lanuza will host the presentation of a cultural exchange project led by the Spanish ensemble led by the flamenco guitarist Manuel Santiago and the Moroccan musicians Jamal Nouman (voice and Arabic lute), Farid Ghannam (gambri and electric bass) and Ibrahim Terkemani (percussion). Together, under the name of Alquibla, they will review the influences of Arabic music in Spanish flamenco to pay tribute to the old neighborhood of Alquibla, where the Arab population settled in Huesca. And we end with an added value of South Pyrenees: the traditional dance workshop of Ethiopia that the dancer and musician Melaku Belay, leader of the Ethiocolor group, plans to give from July 17 to 18 at the municipal sports center in Huesca.

Carlos Fuentes is the author of Semilla Negra . Journalist and music critic during the last two decades has published articles, interviews and reports on African music in national newspapers and magazines such asRockdelux or Series B .

Ethiopia to issue IDs for Rastafarian community

Ethiopia to issue IDs for Rastafarian community

Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said Friday it will issue identification cards to Rastafarians, granting rights to a community that has long complained of living in limbo in their “promised land”.

Rastafarians began immigrating to Ethiopia in the 1950s after Emperor Haile Selassie, whom they consider their messiah, set aside 500 acres (1,200 hectares) of land in the southern city of Shashamane for descendants of African slaves seeking to return “home”.

But the community shrank after Haile Selassie’s overthrow and eventual murder in the 1970s.

These days, the Rastafarian community in Shashamane numbers in the hundreds, but the religion’s adherents complain that they can’t own property, send their children to university or work because they’re not Ethiopian citizens.

Many have also turned their backs on their home countries by not renewing their passports, leaving them stateless.

Foreign ministry spokesman Meles Alem told AFP Rastafarians will now be eligible to receive ID cards that will allow them to reside and have most legal rights in the country.

However, while this card allows them residency they are still not considered citizens.

“There were questions for them to recognise their presence in the country, so that is what the government did,” Meles said.

Under the revised guidelines, the cards will also be available to foreigners who have contributed to the country’s development and to Israelis of Ethiopian descent, Meles said.

The land of Haile Selassie is finally recognizing its Rastafarian community


The land of Haile Selassie is finally recognizing its Rastafarian community

Courtesy of

Ethiopia’s government has announced it will issue identity cards to members of the Rastafarian community, a religious group that has long been seen as stateless in the horn of Africa nation. The foreign ministry said that the ID cards will grant Rastafarians residency and most legal rights in the country, but will still not make them citizens, AFP reports.

Estimates of the number of Rastafarians in Ethiopia range from hundreds to 1,000, and they reside mostly in the capital Addis Ababa or in Shashamane, a town 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of the capital. Adherents of the religion mostly migrated from the Caribbean in the 1950s, after Ethiopia’s former emperor Haile Selassie—who was seen as a messiah by Rastafarians—bequeathed hundreds of hectares of land to them.

Rastafarianism originated in Jamaica and gained momentum around 1930 when Haile Selassie came to power in Ethiopia. Members of the religious movement believe that blacks are the chosen people, though many were displaced, abused, or marginalized by colonialism and slavery. They wear dreadlocks and smoke cannabis for ritualistic purposes.

Some link the origin of the religion to Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican activist whose philosophy of black self-determination influenced leaders from Malcolm X to Nelson Mandela. Garvey, who was a proponent of black nationalism and pan-Africanism, once said, “Look to Africa when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is near.” After news of Haile Selassie’s coronation reached Jamaica, members of the community began an exodus to Ethiopia, believing him to be a savior and God incarnate.

But while Rastafarians believe that Haile Selassie was the Jah—or God incarnate—the Ethiopian emperor didn’t himself intentionally propagate or encourage this divine status. Arriving in Kingston in a 1966 trip to Jamaica, he was overwhelmed by the ecstatic crowds, who jostled to see the African king.

Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, attends a ceremony, March 02, 1974.

“We are overjoyed,” Ras King, a member of the Rastafarian community who first came to Ethiopia in 1982, told Reuters of the government’s decision. “We are extremely happy because this has fulfilled our confidence in our forefathers’ vision for a united Africa and black people from the West. As usual, Ethiopia has led the way and set the example for the rest of the continent in recognizing the Rastafarian movement.”

Adherents of Rastafarianism live across Africa, from South Africa to Ivory Coast in the west and Tanzania and Kenya in the east. Reggae, and especially the music of Bob Marley and the Wailers, which introduced Rastafarian culture to much of the world, is also huge on the continent.

In Ethiopia, the recognition of the Rastafarians comes at a tense time, when political and economic protests against the government have folded into a battle over land, language, demography, and ethnicity.

Members of the Oromos and Amhara community have been protesting against the Tigray-dominated government, which led to the government instituting a state of emergency. The Tigray, who make up only 6% of the country’s over-100-million population, have over the years enjoyed disproportionate influence and representation in government.





April, 1998

PROPHET (prof’it), n. 1. a religious teacher regarded as being divinely inspired. 2. one who predicts the future. (Webster’s Dictionary)

PROPHET: one whose righteous actions adversely influence people’s minds, resulting in great enlightenment. (Travis Piper)

Throughout history, there have been many events and figures which have significantly altered the course of time. That which has been responsible for the huge amount of such drastic worldwide changes, ranges from the international success of The Beatles, to the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa. Although many great events have occurred that have both positively and negatively contributed to global change, the basis of this study will focus on the impact of three men in the lives of nearly everyone on earth, but, most particularly in the lives of black Jamaicans. These three men are Robert Nesta Marley, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and Ras Tafari Makonnen. Their influence is nearly impossible to accurately gauge, especially in a study of this nature. However, it is my intention to investigate each of their impacts through the eyes of an outsider, and to attempt to determine if any of their existences were prophetical, using a comparison between the two definitions of the word, listed above.

In 1944, a 50 year old white captain named Norval Marley, married an eighteen year old black girl named Cedella Booker. Shortly there after, they had a son named, Robert Nesta Marley, who was born at two-thirty on a Wednesday morning, February 6, 1945, in his grandfather Omeria’s house. The captain however, seldom saw his son although he did provide financial support for him.
In the late fifties, Bob and Cedella moved from St. Ann to Trenchtown in Kingston, (called so by the water trenches which flow through). In these early days in Kingston, Bob met a man named Bunny Livingston, (later to become Bunny Wailer). Together they began to play around a bit and shared common interests. It was also around this same time that they met Peter McIntosh, a local boy who, because of a bad home life, had no real place to be. Peter was commonly seen playing his guitar around town.

Slowly but surely, the band which was later to be known as the Wailers, came together. After many years of writing and playing in Kingston, Marley auditioned for Leslie Kong, who took the young singer into the studio to record his first single”Judge
Not”, in 1962. The following year, Bob formed the Wailing Wailers, together with Peter and Bunny. The three men were soon introduced to Clement Dodd, a producer of the record company Coxsone. On this label the Wailing Wailers released their first single,”Simmer Down”, which became a big sensation in Jamaica. At this time three more members had joined the group: Junior Braithwaite, Beverly Kelso, and Cherry Smith. The Wailing Wailers began recording regularly and released some music that established the group in Jamaica. Soon thereafter, Junior, Beverly, and Cherry left the group, making it the original trio again.

Around this time, Bob’s mother, Cedella, convinced him to move to Delaware, where she was working, so he could get a job. After some hesitation, he agreed and decided to move there. Before he did however, he felt it was necessary to marry the young girl he had been courting, Rita Anderson, so she would wait for him while he was gone. In America he worked some odd factory jobs, just enough to finance his music and then soon left for Jamaica again. As Bob came back to his home country, he, Bunny and Peter reformed the group as the Wailers. Since Jamaican music style was changing the group changed as well.That brought them into conflict with Coxsone Dodd and the group formed the record label Wail ‘N’ Soul. The label soon folded however and the group seemed without much hope until they met the great, Lee Perry. Together with Perry, the Wailers produced great tracks like”Soul Rebel”,”Duppy Conqueror”,”400 Years”and”Small Axe”. In 1970 Aston”Family Man”Barrett and his brother Carlton, joined the Wailers. The band was, at the start of the seventies, internationally unknown, but famous throughout the Caribbean.

Around this time Bob took a trip to Sweden and London. While in London, he recorded”Reggae on Broadway”which later was released by CBS. When all the Wailers got to London to promote that single, they found themselves stranded there. With no other way out, Bob Marley stepped right into Basing Street studios of Island records and asked to see the boss, Chris Blackwell. He knew of the Wailers and offered to record them.The band was advanced a couple of thousand pounds so that they could return to Jamaica and record their first album for Island records. Now the Wailers had access to great recording facilities and for the first time, a reggae group could compete with the already established rock groups. The album was called”Catch a fire”and was released in December 1972. It didn’t catch on at first but the reviews were excellent in England and certainly far from poor in America.

In April 1973, the Wailers came to London and started a three month tour in Britain. Directly following, on their American tour, they even supported Bruce Springsteen for a weekend. Later the Wailers were about to support Sly & The Family Stone for seventeen dates. But rumor has it, after only four shows they were fired because they were too good. The band was left in Las Vegas without manager nor money. Somehow though, they managed to get to San Francisco were they did a live concert broadcast for the radio station KSAN-FM. Their second album”Burning”, was released in 1973. That included some older songs like”Duppy Conqueror”,”Small Axe”and”Put It On”together with”Get Up Stand Up”and”I Shot The Sheriff”. In the beginning of 1975 the group released”Natty Dread”. During that period Bunny and Peter left the group to go solo. The harsh lifestyle of constant touring was not what they had in mind when they began playing with Bob. Another reason why Peter and Bunny left was that they couldn’t find the natural,”i-tal”food that they liked to eat on tour.The band was renamed Bob Marley and the Wailers and Bunny and Peter were replaced by the I-Threes, Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt. When the band performed at the Lyceum, the show was recorded and later released as the album,”Live !”.

In a concert by Stevie Wonder on behalf of the Jamaican Institute for the blind, Bob, Bunny, and Peter did the song”Rude Boy”. It was the last time the original Wailers ever performed together.”Rastaman Vibration”was released in 1976 and boosted into the charts in England and the United States.”Rat Race”,”Johnny Was”, and”War”are a few of the tracks that made the album so popular.
On December 5, 1976, Bob decided to hold a free concert at Kingston”s National Heroes Park. The idea of the concert was to work for peace among the warring factions of Jamaica and to thank the people of the country. The government called an election for about two weeks after the concert which was a signal for renewed ghetto war. Gunmen broke into Marley’s house two days before the concert and shot Bob, Rita and some of their friends. Miraculous enough nobody got killed although most of the wounds were fatal. Bob was safely hidden at Strawberry Hill and had a hard time deciding whether he was going to do the show or not. Eventually he decided that the music was what was truly important and decided to go on anyway. After amazing success at the show, Bob left Jamaica directly after the concert, and in 1977 the whole group moved to London to record and later release the album”Exodus”.
“Exodus”went to number one in England and Germany and the singles”Exodus”, Waiting In Vain”and”Jammin'”sold massive. The band toured Europe and also did a week of concerts at London’s Rainbow Theater. At the beginning of the tour Bob hurt a toe during a football game and later was diagnosed with cancer, as a result of his medical examination. Because of his strict Rasta beliefs, Bob refused to receive any amputations or serious medical treatment, for the body of a Rasta is sacred and to pollute it, or modify it with the tools of Babylon, would be immoral.
In 1978 Bob the Wailers released”Kaya”. Although the album’s success became huge in following years, Bob was then accused of going soft and selling out. Two singles from”Kaya”went into the charts:”Satisfy My Soul”and”Is This Love”. In April the band played the One Love Peace Concert in Jamaica in front of the prime minister Michael Manley and the opposition leader Edward Seaga. In one of the most moving stage performance ever, Bob, amidst lightning, joined hands of the two leaders over his head in mid song, to show the people that they can all unite.
On June 15, Bob received the Third World Peace Medal by all the African delegations to the United Nations. He also made his first visit in Africa that year and went to Kenya and Ethiopia.The earlier tour in Europe was recorded as a ground to the band’s second live album”Babylon By Bus”. As”Survival”was released in 1979 it included,”Ambush In The Night”and”Africa Unite”amongst other great tracks. With the message of black survival, the album art was covered with the flags of almost every African nation. These were divided by a diagram that shows how the Africans were packed like sardines on a slave ship bound for West Indies.

In the beginning of 1980 Bob Marley and the Wailers flew to Gabon to make their African debut. It was here Bob found out that Don Taylor (Bob’s manager) defrauded him on money. Bob got so angry that he almost beat Don to death and then fired him. Dispite this misfortune, the government of Zimbabwe invited the group to play at the country’s Independence Ceremony in April the same year. That was a triumph for Bob Marley and maybe even the greatest moment of his life.

The band’s last album”Uprising”received mixed criticism. It included such songs as”Could You Be Loved”,”Coming In From The Cold”,”Work”and the tear jerking,”Redemption Songs”. The group went on an European tour that included a Milan concert with over one hundred thousand Italians. The new album did well and plans were made for an American tour that would later intersect with Stevie Wonder. Bob started at Madison Square Garden and continued on to the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, which would be his last performance. At this point the cancer had spread throughout his body to the stomach, lungs and unfortunately even to his head. Despite extensive radiation treatment, on his way home to Jamaica, Bob died in a Miami hospital May 11 1981, at thirty six years old. He was put to his final rest ten days after his death. Bob was then 36 years old (White 1983).

At his funeral, there occurred one of the most significant Rasta gatherings ever. Like gathering for a big party, they came from all over to march from Kingston to Nine Miles, the place of Bob’s birth, to bury his body. The funeral was attended by both Michael Manley and Edward Seaga, symbolizing true progress in the struggle against political violence and oppression.

The total impact of Bob Marley’s life has sparked one the largest social movements in history. Although Rastafarianism surely existed before Bob declared himself a believer, the exposure that he provided the world with, truly opened up the religion to those who, without him, may never have even heard of Rasta, or reggae music for that matter. Some say part of Bob’s overwhelming success was in his handsome, captivating appearance. As his father was white, Bob’s complexion was very clear and handsomly proportioned between black and white. I suggest this as only a fraction of his popularity. I believe Bob Marley had a gift; a direct spiritual connection that perhaps no one else has had to date.
There are many reasons why Bob Marley and the Wailers became international superstars and the forefathers of global reggae, but only a few reasons why Bob was the way he was. Perhaps without him, the band would have reached similar levels of achievement, but the message that he spread and the feelings he conveyed throughout those who were lucky enough to know him and through those who are only able to hear him, were exceptionally phenomenal. So phenomenal, that divine inspiration and direct spiritual influence may be the only explanations.
When I watch footage of Bob performing live onstage, I sometimes get shivers, as if there is a beam of light which comes from the sky and shines directly on his head. The way he skanked his body, throwing his locks in every direction, sending praise to the most high, Jah Rastafari, captivates people, unlike any other reggae performer ever has. When Bob played, it seemed he got his spirit and power directly from God, and used his body as a translator to convey the energy to the people.

The great struggles that we all endure, particularly black Jamaicans, are the basis of Bob’s inspiration. How could people living in such a beautiful place undergo such incredible hardships? The irony is shocking. When music is all that you have, it feels pretty good when you can all get together and share a common wealth, that no one can take away from you. Music is all that Jamaicans have against the oppression of Babylon and it’s evil ways. Bob’s contributions and influence to this”chanting down of Babylon”has changed thousands of lives. As Bob says in Trenchtown Rock,”One good thing about music, it when hits, you feel no pain…one good thing about music, is when it hits ya, you feel no pain.. SO, hit me with music, hit me with music now! The metaphorical comparison of physical brutality by the hands of Babylon, and brutality with music, described above, provides an excellent Rasta assimilation.

I think part of the reason why Bob reached such incredible achievement and success, is that he was one of the people that he sang about setting free. Its not like he grew up in a rich part of Kingston and simply became interested in reggae and decided to start performing. His childhood in Trenchtown gave him brilliantly clear evidence of the oppression that was going on there. I suppose it was this that helped inspire such passionate performances.

The second figure of significant importance in African-American, and Rastafarian history, and often referred to as the”Black Moses”, was Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a black, Jamaican native who was born in St.Ann’s Bay, on the northern coast, on August 17, 1887. As the youngest of eleven children, Garvey was often thriving for attention amongst his family. Largely self taught, Garvey attended school until he was fourteen and moved to Kingston, where he found work in a print shop and quickly became acquainted with the abysmal living conditions of the laboring class. As a result of this, he immediately involved himself in social reform, by participating in the first Printer’s Union strike in Jamaica in 1907, and in setting up the newspaper, The Watchman. Once Garvey got a taste of the discriminatory conditions going on in Jamaica, he left the island to make more money to finance his projects. In the years directly following, he visited Central and South America, amassing more and more evidence that black people everywhere were experiencing the discrimination that he had, in Jamaica.

In 1911, Garvey returned to Jamaica and began to lay the groundwork for the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the first important American black nationalist movement, to which he would devote most of his life. Because of the importance he felt for his plans, the lack of enthusiasm he experienced by the Jamaican people, left him severely unimpressed. In 1912, he traveled to England in search of additional financial backing. In England, he met Egyptian journalist, Duse Mohammed Ali, while working for his publication African Times and Oriental Review . It was then that Garvey began to study the history of Africa and the exploitation of indigenous peoples, by colonial powers, particularly England and France. A major piece of literature that helped shape Garvey’s strict values was Booker T. Washington’s, Up From Slavery, a book that advocated black self-help.

Finally on August 1, 1914, with a group of friends, Garvey completely organized, and got underway, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and it’s coordinating body, The African Communities League. The motto of the UNIA soon became,”One God, One Aim, One Destiny”and signified well, Garvey’s intense beliefs. In 1920, the organization held its first convention in New York City, which opened with a parade down Lenox Ave, in Harlem. That evening, in a speech to over 25,000 people from the steps of Association’s Liberty Hall, Garvey explained the outline of his plan to build an African nation-state. He spoke of a”new Negro”, who was proud of being black and taught that blacks would only be respected when they were economically strong, as well as preaching an independent black economy within the framework of white capitalism. His words convinced many people that night, and his plans took off in NYC, as thousands enrolled in the UNIA. It was then that he began publishing the newspaper, The Negro World , which told of the exploits and heroes of the black race, as well as the splendors of African culture. Garvey also began touring the country, preaching about black nationalism to large audiences. In a matter of months, Garvey and his associates, established over thirty branches of the UNIA, as well as launching some successful business ventures. At it’s peak, the UNIA boasted a membership of over four million strong.
One of the most notable business ventures that Garvey started was, The Black Star Shipping Line, which was something that was unheard of at this time: a business belonging to, and operated by blacks. The Black Star gave even the poorest blacks the opportunity to become stockholders in a big business enterprise. Even though the idea of blacks owning and operating a business, was unheard of and largely unsupported by majorities, Garvey pushed on. The Black Star Line was established as a commercial venture, and it is my belief that Garvey did not intend, as critics so often claim, that the Line would serve merely as a vehicle for the transportation of all Negroes back to the African homeland.
The Black Star Line, despite it’s initial success, soon began to loose popularity and consequently, fell into serious financial difficulties. With the Line in such a predicament, Garvey promoted two new businesses, namely, the African Communities League, and the Negro Factories Corporation, as well as many other restaurants, factories, grocery stores and laundries. He also tried to follow through with his strong issues on colonization by sending a delegation to appeal the League of Nations for transfer to the UNIA of the African colonies taken from Germany during World War I. He reached the height of his power in 1920, when he presided at an international convention in Liberty Hall, with delegates present from over twenty-five countries. This affair was followed by a parade of over fifty thousand people, through the streets of Harlem, led by Garvey himself, in flamboyant costume.

Eventually Garvey’s numerous financial schemes and occasional betrayals, caught up with him when he, and five other UNIA member were charged with U.S. mail fraud, in connection with the sale of stock to the Star Line. Although many critics contend that the charges were drummed up out of nowhere because the F.B.I wanted him put down, nonetheless, Garvey was sentenced to a five year sentence in 1925. But in 1927, after serving only two years, his sentence was commuted by President Calvin Coolidge, and he was deported as an undesirable alien.
Following this, he returned to Jamaica where he turned his attention to Jamaican politics, campaigning on a platform of self government, minimum wage laws and judicial reform. Some of the other doctrines that Garvey very strongly supported were: worldwide cooperation between all blacks, development of Africa to it’s potential, recognizing Africa as important in world affairs, development of black education institutions, raising up the consciousness of black people globally, and that blacks should be proud, self-sufficient, and disciplined.

Regardless of this, he was completely defeated at the polls, because most of his followers, particularly the poor folks living in the ghettos, did not have the necessary voting qualifications. Following this, Garvey was never able to relive his moments of success in the states, and in 1935 he left Jamaica and moved to England. He died there of pneumonia, on June 10, 1940, in a cottage on West Kensington, in virtual obscurity. Garvey was only fifty three when he died (Boyd).

Perhaps one of the most notable events that occurred involving Garvey, happened one Sunday in 1927 in a Kingston church, after he had been deported from the states. Garvey prophesied,”Look to Africa, where a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is here.”This one statement, layed nearly the entire course of what modern Rastafarianism is today.

In 1930 a tribal warrior from a small corner of Ethiopia named Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned the 111th Emperor of Ethiopia in a descendent line traced directly to the union of King Solomon and Queen Sheba. Upon being crowned, Tafari took the name Haile Selassie, meaning”Power of the Holy Trinity”. His official title was now, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, His Imperial Majesty the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Juda, Elect of God. When Garvey-following, Jamaican’s saw the picture of the newly crowned Ethiopian emperor on the front page of the newspapers, they looked to their bibles for a sign. The evidence in the Bible, combined with Garvey’s prophesy was strong,”And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof’..And one of the elders saith unto me, ‘Weep not: behold, the Lion of Judah, The Root of David, hath prevailed to open the Book, and to loose the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”

Soon thereafter, several preachers in Kingston began praying to Selassie as the living God and the key to African redemption. Much of the joy felt by Jamaicans, in Selassie’s establishment as the living God, came as a result of their unhappiness worshiping a white god. Encouraged by Marcus Garvey, some Jamaicans, although many were and still are Christian, felt the need to pray to their own god; one that could connect to their suffering. It seemed inappropriate, to some, to pray to a god of the same race as those who have oppressed them for hundreds of years. The crowning of Selassie was the best news some Jamaicans had ever received. Worshipers of him became known as Ras Tafaris or Rastamen. It was here that Rastafarianism began.

Haile Selassie reigned as the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. A cousin of Emperor Menelik II, he was born Tafari Makonnen on July 23, 1892. Menelik was succeeded in 1913 by his grandson Lij Yasu, a converted Muslim. When Lij Yasu attempted to change the official religion of Ethiopia from Coptic Christianity to Islam, Tafari Makonnen drove him from the throne and installed his aunt as Empress Zauditu, in 1916. Assuming the title Ras Tafari, he named himself regent and heir to the throne. He became de facto ruler of the country and was crowned king in 1928. Two years later, after the mysterious death of the empress, he became emperor as Haile Selassie I.

Selassie ruled as an absolute monarch, centralizing Ethiopia and instituting a number of reforms, including the abolition of slavery. In 1935, after the Italian Fascist troops of Benito Mussolini had invaded Ethiopia, Haile Selassie gained the admiration and sympathy of the world with his impassioned plea for aid from the League of Nations. The league was powerless to act, however, and Mussolini consolidated his gains and officially annexed Ethiopia to Italy. Haile Selassie was forced into exile. Ethiopia was then liberated early in World War II, and Haile Selassie regained his throne in 1941. After the war he resumed his long-range plans to modernize Ethiopia. He continued his autocratic rule, however, and opposition to him grew. Beginning in 1960 a series of coups d’etat were attempted, and in reaction his rule became increasingly despotic. Finally, in 1974 the army succeeded in seizing control. Selassie was stripped of his powers, and later that year he was removed from the throne and placed under house arrest. He died in Addis Ababa on Aug. 27, 1975.(

The impact that Selassie has had on Rastafarianism is incredible, hence the origin of it’s name. Most Rastas believe Selassie to have been the living God. In fact, the famous day on April 21, 1966, when he visited Jamaica for the first time, many magical things were reported to have happened, proving his divinity. On this day there were hundreds of dreads hanging around the airstrip, smoking ganja, just waiting for H.I.M to arrive. When the great plane carrying the King, first appeared through the clouds, with the Lion of Judah shining on the side, it is said, that the sun burst through the clouds and shone on his majesty the whole way down to the ground. It is also said that when Selassie’s plane finally came into view, doves appeared and flew in front of it, protecting and guiding it safely to the ground. After it landed however, there were so many Rasta’s awaiting a glimpse of their new God, that when Selassie stepped out, he became immediately overwhelmed and went back into the plane for an hour, waiting for some of the crowd to subside.

Bob Marley, who was in the states at the time of the King’s arrival, knew about it and advised his wife, Rita,”if possible, go see for yourself”(Salewicz 1995), for Selassie would truly be something to see. Rita Marley reported noticing nothing out of the ordinary, with this short, meager man, who wore his cap down over his eyes, until he drove by in his car, waving to the crowds. It was there that Rita saw the nail scars of Jesus’ crucifixion on his hands, and knew that he was truly God. Following this she said,”So when I saw this I said to myself, that this could be true, this could be the man of whom it was said ‘before the year 2000, Christ will be a man walking on the earth”(Salewicz 1995).
Besides the prophecy of Marcus Garvey, suggesting Ethiopia’s newly crowed king was to be God, there are other reasons why Rastafari people around the world see His Majesty Haile Selassie as their leader, king, and God.
First, Ethiopia is simply where the first humans lived. Lucy, or Denkenesh in Amharic, was the first human being and lived in Ethiopia over 4.5 million years ago. She was part of the first group of people that walked erect. In the Bible there is mention of the Garden of Eden and some claims that it was near Baghdad. Though the Bible says, in Gen 2:13, that”a river went out of Eden and its name was Gihon and it compasseth the land of Ethiopia”. From here life spread and before there were any countriesor boundaries, all of the earth was one. One Ethiopia.
Second, the ark of the covenant is in Ethiopia. The queen of Sheba visited king Solomon about 950 B.C. After returning to Sheba who bore him a son named Ibn Hakim. Grown up, Ibn Hakim wanted to meet his father, so he journeyed to Israel. Solomon greeted him and wanted to crown him heir to Israel’s throne, but Ibn Hakim wanted to return to Sheba and become emperor in the western part of Sheba – Ethiopia. Solomon sent his counselors oldest sons to help his own son rule Ethiopia. The high priest´s son Azaria couldn’t bare the thought of leaving the Ark of the Covenant, so with God’s permission, he stole it, and brought it with him to Ethiopia. Ibn Hakim became Ethiopia’s first emperor and took the name of Menelik I. He is Haile Selassie´s forefather of the Solomonic dynasty.
Third, and arguably most important, is that Selassie’s name is in the Bible. In the bible it says that God’s title is king of kings and lord of lords ( Rev. 19: 11 – 17 ). That is also the title that Haile Selassie received at his crowning the 2nd of November, 1930 in Addis Ababa. He also received the title: The conquering lion of the tribe of Judah. In revelation 5:5 it says:”Weep not: behold the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof”. Both these titles point to His Majesty as God!
As the backbone of the Rasta religion, Selassie sits as the unsuspecting centerpiece. Hearing that all of these Jamaican’s thought he was the living God, was completely ridiculous to him. This is why I fail to understand the reason why so many claim Selassie to be God, when he openly admitted that he was not. This is generally responded to, however, by the argument that God would not know he was God, on purpose, just so he, (Selassie), would not become absorbed in his power. I can understand this argument, but do not agree with it. I believe Selassie was often prophetical in his political and social decisions and clearly so, involving his influence on Rastas. However, I do not think of him as a true prophet, using the defenitions stated above . A major reason for this belief lies simply on the fact that he did not encourage the Rastas and refused to condone the”back to Africa”or Zion movement. As a political figure, with an image to uphold, the last thing he wanted was thousands of poor, dreaded Rastas, to sit around Ethiopia, puffing herb, and praising him as the Holy God. Instead he told the Jamaicans to stay where they were, and that Ethiopia was not their Zion.
Many people saw Selassie as a great hero in the struggle of black peoples everywhere and the work that Selassie did towards abolishing slavery in Ethiopia was perhaps some of the greatest work he did, in the eyes of the Rastas. Even though he was God, to many however, not all of his actions were purely righteous. Selassie’s purpose was generally regarded as a man searching for political advancement and social achievement. His true intentions did not exceed the boundaries of these narrow goals. Although he is the basis of the Rasta movement, because some believe he is God, his existence on this planet was not truely propehtical. He was mainly a righteous man, politically, but not much else connects him with the Rasta movement. His life was so different than Marcus’, or Bob’s, because was a political figure at the same time, that they are all very difficult to compare.
When one thinks of Marcus Garvey, they usually think of the Jamaican who dedicated his life towards Black equality. This, for the most part, is true. Garvey influenced and continues to influence, thousands of people, movements, and songs. Without his work, black and white relations would certainly be a lot further behind than their current status. I would suggest, however, that Marcus Garvey was a much different character in the scheme of Jamaican and global influence, than Bob Marley.
The many aspects necessary for a truly prophetic figure, are in some cases, far beyond what secular culture can understand. Yes, although, Garvey was a teacher and was probably thought of as being divinely inspired by some, to me, he was not a true prophet. His overall influence on society was not completely righteous and his actions, didn’t necessarily cause enlightenment in people. Some of the shady dealings that Garvey was involved with when getting the Black Star Line together, and making it financially successfull, were far from righteous, even though they might have been done for a good cause. Garvey knew that people needed to be uplifted and, by making them able to support themselves on their own and succeed financially, he provided them with a way to do that. I would suggest that Garvey was more of a black sumpremacy advocate, than a prophet. I don’t feel the same level of oneness when reading Garvey’s writing or about his life, that I do with Bob. Even though blacks were certainly oppressed in Jamaica, and continue to be so today, I believe Garvey’s level of black-power was perhaps too overdone. In some ways, he defeated the purpose he was trying to achieve, which was eqaulity. Eqaulity needs to start with equality, not ammending the injustices of the past. For those injustices are in the past, and the future is in our hands now.
Bob Marley was one of the greatest musical, social figures to ever have lived. Almost constant enlightenment occurred when people listened to Bob sing or speak. It is obviously hard to establish who was a prophet and who was not, when examining three of the most influencial figures in the twentieth century, but after all is said and done, Bob Marley simply stands out from the others. His message of”One Love”has ammednded racial tentions in many ways. One Love is the true bottom line to everything. If we all loved each other equally; your father the same as your friend, the same as your lover, the same as those you don’t even know, the world would be a much greater place. Even though not all people are good and there are many who you will not like, if you can atleast understand every person’s point of view and know that each of us has our own struggles, than we can begin to lift the weight of racial, social, and political oppression, off of us all. Bob’s mission to uplift the people was, in some ways, very similar to Garvey’s and Selassie’s, but it seems that, plain and simple, Bob Marley had a divine gift of some kind. For the purpose of this paper, I will regard this gift as being a true prophet.

one perfect love for us all

BIBLIOGRAPHY ; Reggae music. ; Ras Tafari Makonnen. ; Ras Tafari Makonnen.

Boot, Adrian. Salewicz, Chris. Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom. Copyright 1995.

Boyd, Herb.”Marcus Garvey”.

Chang, Kevin O’Brien. Chen, Wayne. Reggae Roots: Story of Jamaican Music.
Kingston, Jamaica. Copyright 1998.

Chevannes, Barry. Rastafari: Roots and Ideology. New York. Copyright 1994.

Nichols, Tracy. Rastafari: A Way Of Life. Chicago. Copyright 1996.

White, Timothy. Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley. New York. Copyright 1983.

Rastafarianism: Definition & History

Rastafarianism: Definition & History

Courtesy of

Rastafarianism, is a religion based out of Jamaica with nearly one million global followers. It isn’t all just dreadlocks and reggae; the background, history, and some of the faith’s facts are explained here.

What is Rastafarianism?

A new movement began in 1930, mainly out of poor areas and places within Afro-Jamaican communities in Jamaica. Rastafarianism has always lacked any semblance of an organized leadership structure, and those who practice its beliefs are a very diverse group, but their belief is powerful.

The people of the faith refer to themselves as Rastafari, and the basis of the faith has different interpretations of the Bible, which are called ”Rastalogy.” The believers hold faith that Jah is found in every living person, and the term is their way of referring to the one God. So basically, God is found within us all.

Rastafarian faith is influenced heavily by Judeo-Christian roots thanks to the missionary movements; practitioners believe the Bible is paramount. Rastafarians see the Bible as the first hand account of how black people are God’s favored people. The first Bible written on stone is believed to be in the Ethiopian language of Amharic. It makes it a key belief to understanding black histories, but Rastafari also believe it predicts the course and the events of the future. They believe the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelations, to be the most important part.

Rastafarian Flag, crowned Lion.

However, Rastafari also believe that the words of the Bible have been twisted. They believe this misdirection of the Bible’s words, through different translations over the generations, was caused by the white man’s influence who wanted to deny the history of black Africans. They also believe the words have hidden messages. The true teachings are learned and discovered through meditation of the ”Book within.”

Rastafarianism History

The birth of Rastafarianism can be traced to the lingering effects of the Atlantic slave trade. During this time, over 10 million Africans between the 16 and the 19th century were forcefully enslaved and relocated. Of these slaves, nearly 700,000 Africans were relocated to the island of Jamaica. Here, they were forced into field and servant jobs in homes across the island. Those taken by force began to see their places of relocation as Babylon, and their homeland of Africa as Ethiopia.

For those unlucky slaves taken from Africa, this exile from their lands marked a period of cultural elimination of their ways of life, traditions, and beliefs. Rastafarians of today do not still hold on to this oppressed belief, but believe their salvation from Babylon is ended and they will soon return to their homelands of Ethiopia.

1930s, the Movement

”Look to Africa where a black king shall be crowned, he shall be your Redeemer.”

Marcus Garvey, a black political leader, spoke these prophetic words. The 1930’s were the true beginning of the Rastafari movement. Shortly after Garvey spoke these words, Haile Selassie I was crowned emperor in Ethiopia, and Rastafari around the world viewed him as the prophetic king. The name of the religion is that of the Emperors birth name: Ras Tafari Makonnen. They view the emperor as the actual Black Messiah, and he is seen as the embodiment of salvation and redemption from the white oppression.

Emperor Haile Selassie I, Rastafari Messiah and Emperor of Ethiopia

Italian court rules its ‘okay for Rastafarians to smoke marijuana when meditating

Italian court rules its ‘okay for Rastafarians to smoke marijuana when meditating’

Lawyer successfully argues cannabis regarded as sacred to religion

Courtesy of

An Italian court has acquitted a man of cannabis possession because he is a Rastafarian and was using the drug to meditate.

The 30-year-old was arrested in May last year after police found eight grams of cannabis in his pocket and a further 50 grams at his home.

A prosecutor called for him to be sentenced to up to four months in prison, but his lawyer successfully argued he should be acquitted because cannabis is regarded as sacred in the Rastafari religion.

Explaining the judgement, the court in the southern coastal city of Bari said: “Rastafarians are followers of a religion whose believers use marijuana for meditation.”​ It added that the cannabis was only for his personal use.

Rastafari is a young religion that developed in the 1930s in Jamaica. Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie, a former Ethiopian Emperor, is the reincarnation of God or a destined emissary. They say he will return to Africa members of the black community who were transported away from the continent during the slave trade and colonisation.