“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:

Rastafari report from Chile – 85th Coronation Celebration Unity Gathering

Rastafari report from Chile – 85th Coronation Celebration Unity Gathering

Courtesy of

Rastafari report from Chile – 85th Coronation Celebration Unity Gathering

“Give thanks for the glory of the word sounds of H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I on Unity and Brotherhood depicted above. Whereas, the foundation of this report is based on. Upon reviewing and reflecting on this report by the reader(s); keep in mind that the Rastafari Movement has spread across the world. Which all race, creeds and ancient traditions have embraced His/Her Majesties; as the shining light and keeper of the ancient living kulture, tradition and righteous force of this world. The images of this report reflects the above noted word sounds from the excerpt of H.I.M and the reporters.

Within the images herein, ones in the images are from the original indigenous people of Chile, Europe and Africa as follows: Indigenous tribes – Alacalufes, Atacamenos, Aymaras, Incas, Mapuches and Onas. European a – British, Italian, German, Spaniards, etc. Africa – ones from the Motherland. More importantly, the Rastafari Community in Chile is engaged in a proactive manner with the Pan African people and organizations in the region. They have established collaborative relationship to keep alive the African identity, culture and tradition, and its contribution to the development of not just Chile but of South America historically. Which for the call for an international Rastafari summit, a Pan African encounter/forum is being constructed. This report is a continuation of the works of Rastafari peoples working towards the word sounds of H.I.M to Centralize and Organize.”

Welcome to Knysna, South Africa’s Largest Rastafarian Community

Welcome to Knysna, South Africa’s Largest Rastafarian Community

Updated: 14 June 2017

In the heart of the Garden Route, just outside of Knysna, you’ll find a bustling and sustainable Rastafarian community. Members are committed to conserving the surrounding area and living an overall better way of life, while staying true to their Rastafarian ideals.
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History of Judah Square

Judah Square was established in 1993 in Knysna’s Khayalethu Township and is the largest working Rastafarian community in South Africa.

After being granted title deeds to the land, the community established Judah Square into a formal settlement which houses a variety of different organisations, within the Rastafarian belief system.

After the initial establishment of Judah Square, the Rastafari formed House of Judah (HOJ), a co-op that’s involved with different community projects as well as the Knysna Municipality, SANParks, Cape Nature and more.

Rastafari men in Judah Square

From youth programmes to fundraising through arts and crafts, everyone in the community works together to foster a peaceful lifestyle | Courtesy of Judah Square

Running a sustainable community

Each community member pays an annual membership fee of R50-R100 (£2.90-£5.80) and a further R1 (£0.06) a day. These contributions are used for the upkeep and general maintenance of the community.

There are also monthly meetings where members can express any concerns or ideas they might have to benefit the community. As far as community interaction goes, morning prayers – held in the tabernacle by The Nyabinghi Order – can be heard from far away and on the first Saturday of each month a large church service is held, welcoming Rastafaris from all over.

When members of the community relocate from Judah Square, their property has to be sold while ensuring the community stays true to its cultural ethics. The decision, therefore, is completely up to the HOJ council. First, an existing member can choose to buy the property; only once it’s established that no members are interested will an outsider Rastafarian be considered. The council also has to agree on any new members who wish to join the community.

House of Judah

An on-going project by HOJ involves cleaning the Khayalethu River and building an information centre | Courtesy of Judah Square

Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day is one of the most celebrated events at Judah Square and is open to anyone who wants to attend, whether Rastafari or not. The celebration entails seven days of worship and a further three days of music, food and culture. The event is open to the public and is a fantastic way to experience the Rasta way of life firsthand.

Want to visit?

Tours are the community’s biggest source of income, and can be booked by contacting Brother Zebulon on (+27) 76 649 1034. Visitors are guided through Judah Square while being educated about the Rastafari way of life and can even spend an evening in the local B&B.

Earth Day celebrations

The annual Earth Day celebration is one of the main events at Judah Square | Courtesy of Judah Square

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.

Government Committed to the Declaration and Development of Pinnacle

Government Committed to the Declaration and Development of Pinnacle

Courtesy of

Culture Minister, the Honourable Olivia Grange met with members of the Rastafarian Community at Pinnacle to discuss the Rastafari Heritage Site Declaration and Development. The meeting took place on Friday, April 22, 2016.

Culture Minister, the Honourable Olivia Grange met with members of the Rastafarian Community at Pinnacle to discuss the Rastafari Heritage Site Declaration and Development. The meeting took place on Friday, April 22, 2016.

Culture Minister, the Honourable Olivia Grange met with members of the Rastafarian Community at Pinnacle to discuss the Rastafari Heritage Site Declaration and Development. The meeting took place on Friday, April 22, 2016.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Friday, April 22, 2016 – Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, announced that the Government is committed to the declaration and development of six lots on the Pinnacle lands in Sligoville, St. Catherine as a heritage site for the Rastafarian community.

“One lot has already been declared a National Monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), while there are four others already identified. We are looking at a total of six lots for acquisition and the establishment of a Rastafarian heritage site and National Monument,” the Minister explained.

Minister Grange made the announcement during a visit to Pinnacle on April 22, 2016.

In highlighting that everything is a process, the Minister said, the new board of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust will lead the process in accordance with the JNHT Act.

In calling for unity among Rastas on the matter of Pinnacle, Minister Grange said, “We will all sit at the table to determine what the project will be, in order to secure the appropriate funding and to determine the way forward and how we will sustain what we are going to put in place and how it will benefit Rastafari and Jamaica.”

“Today and this week is important to you and it is important to Jamaica because when His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie, visited Jamaica on April 21, 1966, he came at the invitation of my Government and 50 years later it is the same Government that is making a commitment to you, that will be realized in your lifetime; that we will once again restore the glory to this piece of rock we call Pinnacle. But for us to achieve this we must recognize that unity is strength,” said Minister Grange in highlighting the 50th Anniversary of the State Visit of Emperor of Ethiopia, the arrival of his grandson, His Imperial Highness, Prince Ermias Sahle – Selassie and the commitment of the Government in declaring and developing Pinnacle.


This disputed piece of land better known as Pinnacle is not beyond us to arrive at a settlement. It is long overdue for an amicable resolution.

The former PNP government did not have a clue how to resolve this dispute. Rastafarians have been treated for too long as if they are second class citizens.

“Out of many one people” is supposed to be our motto, we dear not continue to give lip service to such a laudable statement and in the next breath, ignore the plight of Rastafarians … let them settle once and for all at Pinacle by granting security of tenure. They have considerable spiritual and emotional attachment to this plot of land to be ignored.

To do otherwise would be a downright disgracevif not egregious travesty.

Let us finally do the right thing as this is right thing to do. Amen!.

Commentary by Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & photojournalist for Vision Newspaper Canada.

Mansions of Rastafari Meet in Siparia

Mansions of Rastafari Meet in Siparia

Rastafarians give praise to Jah in the tabernacle
Rastafarians give praise to Jah in the tabernacle


Courtesy of Reporters
Event Date: November 22, 2009
Posted: December 17, 2009

On November 22, 2009, despite the current focus of many being the 2009 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, there was a space set out in Siparia for various Mansions of Rastafari to interact, reason and to address some of the main issues concerning the interests of Rastafari as well as the interests of African people in general. Present were members of the various houses, namely the Bobo Shanti, Nyabinghi, 12 Tribes and African Unity.

Rastas from north, south and central journeyed to Siparia, located in South-West Trinidad to display solidarity with members within the community whose views differ in certain respects but whose underlying principles are the same. Some, particularly those who met at various points in Trinidad beginning at Woodford Square participated in a “Rasta Rally” where they sang, chanted and beat drums until reaching Siparia. Members of the Bobo Shanti house sat in the tray of a truck while other members followed in a van or with their own vehicles. Some had come earlier on and assisted in final preparations for the evening ahead: cooking food, cleaning the tabernacle, placing chairs and other general preparatory arrangements or participated in reasonings with each other.

This meeting was regarded as a critical one for several reasons, one of them being that since Queen Elizabeth II of England was scheduled to arrive in Trinidad for CHOGM, members of the Rastafari community, particularly the Bobo Shantis wanted former enslavers to be reminded of the urgency for repatriation and reparation. In this regard, a book was passed around to collect signatures of persons who supported these aims. This book was to be presented to the Queen by the Bobo Shanti’s when she visited Memorial Park to lay a wreath in memory of soldiers who fought in the two World Wars.

Another aim was to reassure members that despite slight differences in philosophy that the aim was to promote oneness in livity, to assist each other in coping with the trials of living in the Western world and to try to reclaim their glorious past outside of Babylon.

As the sun began to set, several members of the various mansions engaged in brief interviews with explaining their connections with Rastafari and how they saw themselves in the current scheme of things. Many indicated that they became disenchanted with mainstream society and wanted a way of life that reflected their African identity. Many also told of their wanting to return home to Africa or to Ethiopia/Ithiopia, which they say Africa was called before colonialism.

As night came, members of the hosting mansion, Nyabingi, led a Binghi session inside their tabernacle. Drums were beaten, scriptural chants echoed and Ethiopian flags waved. The massive gathering numbering in the hundreds all observed the scene in the partially open tabernacle, even if most sat outside.

The night ended with a reasoning headed by representatives of the different mansions to discuss the important business of Rastafari people about the issues that they face and ways in which they could continue to come together to engender change. More initiatives are planned to foster a greater sense of cooperation and dialogue between the different houses that comprise the Rasta movement.

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.