Abstract Submissions

Rastafarianism Encourages Attachment to Local Cultures and Languages in Japanese Local Cities

Shuji Kamimoto

Keywords: Japan, hometowns, local culture, dialect

In the 1970s, Rastafarianism attracted numerous Japanese music fans. However, by the 1980s, roots reggae waned and dancehall reggae quickly gained popularity. After this transition, some people continued to practice Rastafarianism even though it had become old-fashioned in big cities. On the other hand, in smaller cities and rural areas, Rastafarianism remained and continued to inspire its devoted followers. This paper examines how Rastafarianism indirectly inspired the people in these areas of Japan to become emotionally attached to their homeland.

Various networks and groups of Rastafarianism-inspired people exist in Japan and one such group is the reggae band known as the Zion High Playaz. Based in the Chubu-Tokai area since the 1990s, this band has greatly influenced many young people to accept Rastafarianism. This report focuses on the activities of Sing J Roy, a member of the band, who began his solo career as a dancehall reggae singer in the Fukui Prefecture. Sing J Roy released songs which sung in the Fukui dialect and mention local businesses and popular tourist attractions. It can be said that, through these songs, Sing J Roy encourages the local people to respect their culture.

Of course, Sing J Roy is particularly attached to Jamaica and Rastafarianism. We can also state that his intention is to make not only the Fukui people but also the Japanese living in the local districts feel an overall sense of pride by using reggae music as an oral performing medium. Although it is difficult to share this emotional attachment to the religious and spiritual dimensions of Rastafarianism with non-believers, his perspective of local culture and language have the potential to unite a wide range of people.


“Thou shalt not be black”: The subjugation of Negroes in the Caribbean through Christianity

Steffon R. K. Campbell

Within the Caribbean, and more specifically the Jamaican context, the failure to acknowledge religion as a significant factor in the distribution of power, opportunities and status still exists. And although such failure is evident among all sections of the Jamaican society, the group that has lost and continues to lose the most is the lower class African group.

In order to understand the role religion—more specifically Christianity—has played in the subjugation of blacks in Jamaica from slavery till present, one has to understand the historical, political, socio-cultural and economic factors. Rastafari, even as a movement steeped in Ethiopianism and Black Liberation, cannot eradicate the traces of black subjugation that has been woven into the fabric of Jamaican culture. If one asks you to close your eyes and think about Christ more often than not it is the ‘stereotypical’ image of a white man. An individual who perceives Christ in this way subconsciously separates himself from that Supreme Being by virtue of not having the “image and likeness” of Christ.

In the end, one believes that a structural social movement approach similar to how Christianity was established in the Caribbean or a purely African doctrine devoid of all ideological similarities to Christianity, can be the only means of ‘salvation’ for blacks in Jamaica.

Keywords: Religion; White Christianity; Black Liberation, Rastafari, subjugation, salvation


Naming Jah: Who do InI say InI am.

Christopher Duncanson -Hales

Key Words

“Coronation Day in Addis Ababa,” “Modern Ethiopia,” Coronation, Divinity, Haile Selassie, George Simpson, Hermeneutic, Religious, Productive Imagination, InI, Jah, Jürgen Moltmann, Liberation, Naming God, National Geographic, Paul Ricoeur, Rastafari, Reasoning, Religion, Oppressed, Salvation, Semantic Innovation, The Promise Key, Word/Sound/Power,

Theologian Jürgen Moltmann identifies Rastafarians “one of the most interesting modern forms of expression of the 'religion of the oppressed”(2000, 199). The coronation of Selassie was profiled in the National Geographic(NG) essays “Coronation Day in Addis Ababa” and “Modern Ethiopia.” The importance of these essays to Rastafari has been under appreciated by Biblical and Rasta scholars alike. For instance, William David Spencer’s commentary on The Promise Key, categorically rejects any ‘Q’ like status, arguing that “Neither phrasing nor details are the same.” (1998, 365)

George Simpson direct observation challenges the premature dismissal of these iconic texts.“The next speaker” Simpson reports, “may use an article entitled ‘Modern Ethiopia’ which appeared in the June, 1931, issue of the National Geographic magazine as his text . . .The splendor of the coronation is dwelt upon, and emphasis is placed on the alleged bowing down of the kings and presidents of the earth before Haile Selassie. Haile Selassie's power, the speaker contends, is acknowledged by the mightiest rulers of the world. (1955, 137) This observation is compelling evidence of the profound influenced these essays had on Rastafarians they are imagined through the biblical language of salvation and liberation.

This paper applies Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutic of the religious productive imagination to investigate the transfer of verbal and iconic tropes from these essays to Rastafari reasoning. It is religious imagination of Rastafari word, sound and power that places the biblical expressions of hope in tension with the proclamation of the divinity of Selassie. This profoundly sacramental reasoning professes the knowledge of ‘InI’ as the indwelling of Jah. Given Ricoeur’s identification of the biblical polyphony of names for God, this paper concludes that Rastafari’s semantic innovation is not the naming of God, but rather the proclamation of ‘InI’ as “pieces of God.”(Nettleford).


Title: Marcus Garvey & Bob Marley: Connections in Historical Context
Mark Christian

I would like to consider the connections between Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley in terms of their legacies to the struggle of peoples of African heritage in a Pan-African context. The connections can be obvious and nuanced. One thing for certain is that the present and future generations of young people of African heritage need to know these connections in historical context in order to comprehend the contemporary experiences in terms of the fight for social justice.


Overstanding Idren: special features of Rastafari English morphology

Benjamin Slade

This talk investigates the structure and development of two unique morphological (word-building) processes found in Rastafari English [RE]: overstandings, e.g. forms like outformer, livicate etc.; and I-words like ital, Issembly, inity etc. I show that these two RE morphological phenomena are distinct from any processes

previously identified in other languages, both in terms of form and function. Overstandings like downpress (< oppress, treated as if composed of up + press) superficially resemble folk etymology, in which a morphologically-opaque word is reanalysed; e.g. woodchuck (< Algonquian otchek), shamefaced (< earlier English shamefast “stuck in shame”). The process of folk etymology, however, involves a misunderstanding of the original sense triggering a reformation, while overstandings involve an intentional re-etymologising where the change in form reflects change in meaning and/or perspective. That is, the standard English is treated as representing a lower, incomplete understanding, whereas the new RE form signals a higher comprehension (i.e. overstanding). Many overstandings are formed on the basis of binary oppositions like up vs. down, over vs. under, dead vs. (a) live, love vs. hate etc. (reflecting an ideological binarity lexicalised by Zion vs. Babylon). I-words involve a transformational process replacing initial syllables by the diphthong /ai/, thus Iration for creation. The underlying process involved seems historically connected to the restructuring of the RE pronominal system, which not only eliminates me in favour of I for all grammatical case forms, but also largely eschews the use of the second person form you (often replaced by the I). Not only is “you” replaced, but also other phonological sequences yu, thus I-man (/aiman/) from human (Jamaican Creole /yuman/), and similarly forms like inity, iniverse, and that from this point the process was eventually generalised to include the replacement of any initial syllable by /ai/.

keywords: language, linguistics, morphology, I-words, overstandings


Dem call it scam, Mi call it Reparation: Reasoning Reparation in Contemporary Jamaica.

Troy Folkes

In 2012 popular dancehall entertainer Vybz Kartel made public his song ‘Reparation’ which links the Rastafari philosophy of reparation to lotto scamming. While the concept is being played upon in dancehall music, reparation forms part of Rastafari’s long held belief that the atrocities of slavery is a human rights breach that requires monetary compensation. However, the concept has now been expanded to include any injustices that were meted out to black people that are deemed worthy of compensation.

In this paper the lyrics of Vybz Kartel’s song will not be analysed based on popular opinion, but they will be used as a point of departure into an alternative discourse into what popular culture is informing us about the mindset and approaches to reparation in contemporary Jamaica.

The intent here is to rethink reparations realistically within the context of the world economy and to see if reparations could be successfully negotiated using financial and non-financial means. Through this rethinking of the forms that reparation can take, it is expected that this paper will stimulate a new breed of thought around the issue and assist the Rastafari community in any further negotiations with governments both locally and internationally.

Keywords : Rastafari, Reparation, Popular Culture


My Third Eye: How Photography Magnifies Oral History

Susanne Moss

The focus of this presentation will be screening selected photographs I have had the privilege of taking over the past 30 years with accompanying anecdotes, mainly touching on a few of the many Rastafarian elders and founding fathers. Sadly some have since passed. Photographs are a powerful introduction to their levity, the cornerstone onto which a wealth of history has grown. Youth coming up and others new to the culture, both in Jamaica and foreign, may learn something about the early years of Rastafari thus gaining a greater understanding of where Rasta has been and where it is going over time. As is often thought, to know your history is to have a greater understanding of yourself.

I plan to open with a brief history of my interest in The Rastafarian Movement including travels (camera in hand) to spiritual gatherings, bredrens’ homes, Jamaican and wider international communities. Many people have helped me in a variety of ways for which I am very grateful. I was encouraged by their trust in my self-appointed mission as well offering knowledge of the movement. I will touch on the educational, documentation and historical value of images.

The obvious fact that I am not of the African race nor Jamaican has been both an obstacle and an asset. It makes sense that a Rasta point of view would be different than an outsider’s. However, each and every individual has his or her own perspective no matter what their race or knowledge base. This fact enriches the totality of available research information.

Having been involved for up to 30 years demonstrates my sincerity, caring and impassioned interest with the movement. Rasta has enriched my spirit, knowledge and overstanding of the world, and I hope to reciprocate by sharing these photographs.


Rastafari Matriarchy: The Omega Principle and Contributions of the Lioness through Film Making

Imani M. Tafari-Ama

The feminist/womanist maxim that the personal is political has reverberated within the annals of Rastafari discourse on gender relations, as enunciated by writers like Carole Yawney, Maureen Rowe and myself; yet the concurrent contributions of film makers to this ongoing debate is little known in the literature and therefore deserves review, especially since the passage of time may erase the memories of these analog contributions in this fast-paced digital era.

When Melelik Shabbazz introduced me to Sister Dennis, a Rastafari film maker from London, England in 1988 and she asked if I would be her Production Assistant for her film Omega Rising I had to decline as I was going to attend a world film festival in Martinique at that same time and was covering the event for Flair Magazine and Reggae Report. However, I put her in touch with several of the Rastafari sistren she would include in the film, which offers perspectives on their Rastafari trod. It was ironic that when Sister Dennis succumbed to a deadly malaria attack in Ghana a decade later, I was asked to give a tribute to her at a film festival held in Amsterdam where Omega Rising was screened in 1998.

Following in this documentation tradition, I produced a video documentary in 1990 entitled Gender Relations in Rastafari, which was an output from the participatory action research project I facilitated with Rastafari sistren and brethren from across Jamaica (Tafari-Ama in Barnett (ed.), 2012).

My paper will use a content analysis approach to identify the critically reflexive narratives of gender/identity politics that are explored in these audio-visual productions, which are housed at the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica (ACIJ) yet which have been virtually invisible to the Rastafari community.


Coral Gardens to a coffee shop: Colour misconceptions in the 2013 German Saturn advertisement

Melville Cooke

Public opinion in traditional media and government-level response to a Jamaican flag being burnt and stomped upon in a 2013 advertisement by German coffee shop Saturn was overwhelmingly negative. Accidentally set ablaze in the shop’s kitchen, the black, green and gold flag is taken outside, flung to the ground and stomped upon in order to extinguish the flames.

In the advertisement, this ignites protest, dreadlocked youth and the red, green and gold colours associated with Rastafari playing prominent roles in street demonstrations, including defying soldiers in tanks. The advertisement was withdrawn after the real-life adverse reaction.

This paper argues that there are misconceptions of the relationship between Rastafari and Jamaican culture in the Saturn advertisement. Based on the Jamaican state’s treatment of Rastafari, including the yet unresolved Coral Gardens Massacre within a year of Jamaica’s independence in 1962, despite subsequent softening of attitudes towards Rastafari it is unlikely that members of the movement would be moved to the Jamaican flag’s defense. In addition, the movement has always had a strong focus on repatriation, hence, Rastafari’s defence of Jamaican nationalism in the Saturn advertisement is doubly incongruous.

The deployment of red, green and gold in the Saturn advertisement followed extensive use of Rastafari in Jamaican marketing campaigns. These include Pepsi’s sponsorship of Rebel Salute from 2010 to 2012, telecommunications company Digicel’s sponsorship of the annual Bob Marley birthday celebrations and telecommunications company LIME’s partnership with Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley in 2012. There is also a Marley coffee product.

Using semiotics and structural functionalism, this paper analyses these Jamaican marketing initiatives as experiential marketing campaigns, then assesses the Saturn advertisement’s assumptions about the relationship between Rastafari and Jamaica.

Key words: Rastafari, advertisement, Saturn, Germany, coffee, Marley, Rebel Salute, Pepsi, LIME Digicel


Untold Stories: Using Oral History to Explore the Coral Gardens ‘Incident’ as a Continuation of the Self Liberating Ethos of the Jamaican People

Nicole Plummer and Steffon Campbell

This paper relies on interviews of individuals who in 1963 were directly and indirectly affected by the Coral Gardens ‘Incident’. As the 50th Anniversary has come and passed, many individuals in Western Jamaica have expressed a desire to discuss the Coral Gardens ‘Incident’. These individuals include Rastafari and their families and friends directly affected by the ‘Incident’, police officers, and citizens who witnessed the events of Unholy Thursday and Bad Friday 1963 and afterwards. These testimonies reveal the milieu in which many Rastafari lived – a society willing to condemn rather than understand them; a society that wished to stifle rather than allow self expression.

This paper also explores the continuity between the historical struggle for liberation and the response of colonial government and the struggle of Rastafari for self-liberation and the response of post-colonial society that wished to identify itself as Jamaican rather than African. The response of the society, seen in the oral testimonies of the police officers, Rastafari community and citizens is placed within this context.

The impact of the Cuban Revolution and the Cold War on the government’s and society’s response is also explored in this paper. This paper connects it to the issue of fear, a relic of the colonial era that had another reason to fear the people of African descent they had enslaved.

New testimonies by various stakeholders reveal that Rastafari continued the self-liberating ethos of the Jamaican people; and also that in 1963, very little had changed, as non-Rastafari had more misconceptions than facts of Rastafari – misconceptions rooted in fear that led to an overly brutal state response.


Coral Gardens, Incident, Rastafari, Cuba, Revolution, Colonial, Post-Colonial, Liberation, Oral History, Testimony


International Rasta: The Leadership and Legacy of Archibald Dunkley

Daive Dunkley

Archibald Dunkley is described by Barry Chevannes as one of the other preachers of the new doctrine of Rastafari who came to the fore in 1935. Chevannes places Dunkley’s leadership of the movement within an exclusively local framework that was general enough to account for all of the early leaders. In other words, he was one of the ‘charismatic’ figures who were ‘noted for prophetic or healing powers, [a] deacon, evangelist, secretary, armour bearer, and so on’. Are we to assume that all of the early leaders were for the most part the same? If this is unreasonable to assume then the important question is what can we say about Dunkley that is unique? He is still arguably the most the elusive of the early Rastafari leaders. Chevannes has admitted finding almost nothing about Dunkley in his popular study Rastafari: Roots and Ideology, and also not being able to contact him for an interview during his fieldwork in the 1970s. Charles Price in his recent Becoming Rasta has basically repeated the very little that we already know from Chevannes, and also Leonard Barrett’s account published from in the late 1960s. It would seem that nothing significant in terms of scholarship exists on Dunkley. The purpose of this paper is to initiate a long overdue discussion exclusively on Dunkley, one that focuses on the nature of his leadership and therefore his legacy for the movement. The paper will make use of the usual tools of historical inquiry, namely archival records, which seem to have never been used to research the topic of Archibald Dunkley. Therefore, his pro-intellectual notion of leadership has never been investigated sufficiently, and more important, this view of leadership would foreshadow both the Jamaican development and the internationalisation of the Rastafari movement.


Songs of Freedom: African Reggae and Hip-Hop

Rita Keresztesi

This paper focuses on French African reggae and hip-hop music as vehicles of political dissent. In Francophone West Africa reggae and hip hop music and performers have facilitated public debates and political protests against the still lingering effects of colonization manifest through European military operations (currently, French peace-keeping forces stationed and deployed in Mali), economic and financial institutions (IMF and World Bank), or cultural annual events organized by L’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). The ever-present iconic symbols of freedom embodied by Bob Marley, Che Guevara, and the assassinated President of Burkina Faso Captain Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara are visible on T-shirts, motorcycles stickers, and street-art graffiti, as well as audible in music and festivals. Events like Waga Hip Hop, Jazz à Ouaga, the annual concerts of Le Gang Rebel du Faso, and the human rights film festival Ciné Droit Libre all feature reggae and hip-hop artists, giving testimony to the power and message of the music and genres.

In my presentation I focus on musicians from Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, and Senegal who each respond to political oppression, local or foreign, through dissent in music. One of the most prominent and visible figures of revolutionary charisma in West Africa is the former president of Burkina Faso, Captain Thomas Sankara, who was assassinated in 1987. I will discuss songs by Ivorian artists, such as Tiken Jah Fakoly and Alpha Blondy; the Senegalese Didier Awadi; and the Burkinabé artists, Black So Man, Smokey, Jah Verity, and Sam's K Le Jah. I situate the music in a historical context with a focus on the legacy and continued relevance of Captain Thomas Sankara for African leadership and the artistic appropriations of his image and message in reggae and hip-hop music, as well as in film.

Keywords : West African reggae; West African hip-hop; Thomas Sankara; Tiken Jah Fakoly; Didier Awadi; Smokey; Sam's K Le Jah.


“From Upper Middle Class Jamaica to Shashamane, Ethiopia” Through the Inspiration of H.I.M Haile Selassie I

Ivan Coore

A Journey along Life’s pathway, What now?

Period examined by paper 1963- 1977.

Contextual issues and Events.

Mission to Africa 1961

Coral Gardens Incident 1963

Persecution of Rastafarians in the early sixties, aftermath of Coral Gardens; Stigmatisation and denigration

Visit of H.I.M 1966

Black Consciousness Rising, Black Power in USA, Walter Rodney

Ist Section 5 minutes

Ethiopian World Federation; Charter 15; Other Rastafarian Organisations functional.

Victory of Michael Manley’s PNP

EWF Missions to Africa 1972, 1973

Ivan Coore in Ethiopia 1973-1977

Overthrow of the Monarchy

Establishment and operations of the Dergue

Seizure of Land Grant

Return of a portion

Survival of the reduced land grant

2nd Section Presentation time….. 12 minutes

Musical Expressions of the sixties and seventies

Final section : a brief look at the situation now and the question Yet hedachew? Quo Vadis? A whe we a go? Where are we going?

Presentation time 3 Minutes


It is for the healing of the nation: Exploring the potentials of Marijuana as a tool for Sustainable Economic Development

Keniel E. Grey

In 1961 when the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was convened, it sought to lay a foundation for drug control operating under the premise that, “addiction to narcotic drugs constitutes a serious evil for the individual and is fraught with social and economic danger to mankind.” Since then, numerous other conventions and treaties have been established so as to redefine the terms of ‘use’ of Marijuana. Jamaica stands among one hundred and ninety three countries that are signatories to international conventions that render the consuming, use, cultivation, possession, transfer or trade of marijuana illegal. As signatory to such conventions; Jamaica the sovereign state; has being forced to amend and or implement local laws that are in keeping with outlined international principles. According to Dr. Wendel Able sanctions to be meted out against those found in breach of the terms of the international conventions include: “withdrawal of most United States foreign assistance, as well as opposition to loans sought from multinational development banks.”

Despite the presence of such international conventions and or treaties; several countries have found means and ways of reaping the benefits to be had from the cultivation, use and or engaging of the marijuana product as a tool for sustainable economic development through the decriminalization of marijuana in certain jurisdictions. In my mind, the above reality indicates that a shift is taking place in terms of how it is that Marijuana in particular was perceived in the past and now. In identifying with the notion of change; over eighteen states within the United States of America have taken decisions to decriminalize or redefine laws relating to the use of Marijuana. Amsterdam where the use of Marijuana is void of taboo is viewed as “the world's greatest city because of its ability to ensure basic necessities, freedom and creativity. Tolerance of drugs, sexual freedom, along with integration of different races helps reduce many of the "social problems" faced by most cities.” Additionally in Nimbin Australia a whole community has found ways to use marijuana to eek out an economic existence for themselves. The same can be seen in other places such as Ecuador, Mexico, Argentina, Cyprus, Switzerland, Peru and Uruguay which are just a few of the places examined as part of the overall research.

This paper aims to question and or illustrate the hypocrisies as anchored by international law and how it is that the sanctions of the international conventions and treaties seem to be conveniently applied to smaller nation-states and not all signatories to the treaties. The paper goes further to question via the application of the principles of law the validity of such conventions and or treaties in relation to sovereign nations seeking economic sustainability and full self actualization through the use of natural resources available to them in such regard. Also, the paper examines the application of local and or international law on the use of Marijuana and the creation of industries utilizing the by-products of the same in protected areas such as Accompong, St. Elizabeth. The paper also questions the seriousness and loyalty of the Jamaican government in building and marketing brand Jamaica in relations to our creative industries (particularly those industries to which Marijuana is closely identified and or associated). In the final analysis the paper re-examines the recommendations of the 2001 Ganja Commission chaired by the late Prof. Barry Chevannes and goes further to suggest ways in which the relevant stakeholders can move more expediently in making such recommendations a reality.


A return to the Mother-land, African for Africans at home and in the Diaspora

Keniel E. Grey and Peter Makumbi

The call for repatriation among Africans to the mother-land has being around from the time that the first set of Africans arrived in the America’s consequent to the quest of colonization by the Europeans. Though the phrase repatriation might not have been coined then, the sentiments were most evident. So loud was this call that Africans embraced certain fundamental ideologies that allowed for them to bask in the hope of one day returning to the continent that is the source of all life. The desire for repatriation in those early years would not allow Africans to be daunted neither in life nor death. For instance Africans refused to consume salt believing that if they do their souls would not get to return home should they pass on before a physical return was possible. And those who desired not to subject themselves to the confines and rudiments of European existence took to the hills where they fought relentlessly against the Europeans and set up independent communes unto themselves.

Marcus Garvey in the later years became the most ardent and outstanding supporter and activist in the quest for repatriation. The existence of the Black Starline (Africa for Africans at home and abroad) and the development of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) laid the foundation for future generation of Africans to be guided by in the desire to return to the mother-land. Additionally, the provision of land in Ethiopia by order of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie; created the platform that illustrates Africa’s willingness to allow for the return of her children.

The focus of this paper is to discuss the revival/rejuvenation of the repatriation movement. In this discourse, an examination is done of the limitations and or challenges of the Marcus Garvey initiative as well as other return to Africa projects in the past and organisations today that are working to inspire the desire for repatriation. In underscoring Garvey’s efforts the paper then goes further to examine ways in which the repatriation initiative can work in today’s context, exploring the various channels open to Africans in the Diaspora. Additionally, the paper outlines a more direct call/appeal to those Africans who have no desire to return but are willing in earnest to aid in the development of the continent and a restoration of black identity and pride. In the final analysis we hope to illustrate how through repatriation avenues can be created for exchange in the areas of education, arts, culture, science, and other skills which in earnest would lead to the lessening of the gap/divide between Africans at home and Africans in the Diaspora.


Moses and Rastafari Biblical Hermeneutics: Reading Revolution, Repatriation, and Righteousness

Ariella Werden-Greenfield

“Send us another Moses, to lead the nation, the hungry must be fed, so there'll be no more sufferation. All the people that you see, will be the children of the Most High.” -Congos, “Children Crying”[1]

Franz Fanon writes in A Dying Colonialism of the existential dilemma faced by people of African descent. Fanon asks, “How can a once controlled people assert personal value and freedom?”[2] For Rastafari, the Hebrew Bible serves as a venue for individual and communal disengagement from the psychic hold of white superiority. Rastas read the Hebrew Bible as a path towards purification and freedom, one that proves Jah is black, sanctions black worth, and unites Rastas with ancient Israelites. [3] By adopting and reworking the Bible, a fundamental tool of the white colonizing enterprise, Rastas resist the racial schema of the Americas and claim blackness as holy.

Redactors of Babylon whitened Jah and biblical actors, obfuscating from black people their original status. Rastas reassert the blackness of biblical actors and attempt to emulate them, thus claiming a chosen status. Early leader Samuel Brown wrote, “ We the Rastafarians … are the true prophets of this age, the reincarnated Moses, Joshuas, Isaiahs, Jeremiahs.”[4] And, Tony Rebel sings, “I will be the Moses weh come back again.”[5]

As Rastas identify with Israelites, they celebrate Moses as redeemer and prototypical Rastaman; Moses communicated directly with Jah, dominated oppressors and led the Israelites out of bondage towards Zion. Damian Marley sings, “Jah gave Moses ten commandments upon two tables of stone. Led Israel out of Egypt an' den promise them a home.”[6]

Readers of Moses’ narrative prioritize his revolutionary behavior and relationship with Jah. Yet, Moses’ misstep in Numbers 20:9-11 complicates his role as ideal Rastaman. For Rastafari, should not Moses’ inability to enter the promised land take on profound meaning? This paper investigates Moses’ punishment in Numbers 20:12, considering what his exile-status means in terms of repatriation. Further, this paper explicates the interpretive processes of Rastafari, thereby answering a lacuna in scholarship.

Summary of Arguments

The relationship between what was written in the Hebrew Bible and what is read is dynamic, evidencing the desires, needs, and cultural scenario of readers. Thus, readings of Moses commonly focus on his divine connection and his role as liberator of the Israelites. Because for many readers, the tale of the Israelite’s exodus from Egypt resonates with particular struggles and experiences of domination, vernacular readings of Moses center on his leadership of the chosen people to Zion. However, Moses cannot enter. This paper explores what Moses’ inability to enter Zion means for Rastafari and what his exile says about repatriation and Babylon’s redaction of the Hebrew Bible.

Key Words

Moses, Bible, Hermeneutics, Redaction, Repatriation, Revolution, Empowerment

The Rastafari Movement as a Bridging agent for the Continental African-Diasporic African Divide

Michael Barnett

Anybody familiar with the clearly African inspired social movement of African Diasporic origin, known as the Rastafari movement, will be only too familiar with the Africanity that the movement promotes. Emerging in the 1930s from an island tightly gripped in the colonial clutches of an erstwhile superpower, England, the movement has campaigned tirelessly for the self determination of Black/African people all over the World.

The movement has incessantly promoted Africa as the birthplace of Humanity and the cradle of civilization, as well as the Motherland, to which Black people in the West should aspire to repatriate to. The movement has consistently argued that African Diasporans can contribute their skills and energy towards the rebirth and rebuilding of the continent, by repatriating there.

Simultaneously a significant number of continental Africans have become attracted to this relatively new movement and have become Rastafari adherents themselves. In this regard the popularity and visibility of the movement in Africa has notably started to increase recently, and in tandem with this development the, often overlooked, Continental African -Diasporic African divide has started to diminish.

This paper will seek to outline how both the message and the cultural aesthetic of Rastafari has, (even if it has been only partially), facilitated the closing of the divide between the African Diaspora and Continental Africans.

Keywords – Rastafari, Continental African, Diasporic African, Repatriate, Africa, Motherland


Genesis: Early Beginning : The Evolution of Rastafari A Revolution Movement.

Gloria Simms

The abstract of this paper serves as an enlightment to the unfolding of the early development of a population, birth out of resistance and self-determination against colonialism and slavery.

Rastafari is a livity born in Jamaica, an island whose society and culture for the past (4) four centuries has been substantially formed by the slave trade. The evolution process of this movement is a series of gradual changes that has its origin in other preexisting resistance group, one such group was the Trelawny Town Maroon or “congo settlers,” their distinguished differences is due to continuous modification in past generations, at the same time there are various recognizable similarities which can be acknowledge through classification as a result of common ancestry especially with unrelated members or individuals showing comparable heritable features.

This paper will outline the history of the evolution concept: The resistance days : Lifestyle: customs and traditions: Their Journeys : betrayal & transportation : Present: nowadays – from cross to crown.

It will also highlight the various biological science that provided the evidence in establishing the validity of the evolution of Rastafari and its early contribution to the genesis of the now Jamaican society.


It is a fact that Rastafari movement is the memories of the African people here in Jamaica and other parts of the wider world, it is also a fact that the freedom fighters who eventually was named Rastafari was here resisting slavery and colonialism long before 1930 when THE Emperor of Ethiopia coronation. And even more so that there were two different group, the Second Maroon War show the differences as Accompong group emerged as local militia who help the British to silent the rebellious slaves and to pursue, captured and destroyed the Trelawny Town Freedom Fighters who after realizing what the Peace Treaty entails continue to resist .

Even until today Accompong is still rule by the now Police force, and Maroon Town , Flagstaff, in St. James a location full of rich history of the Jamaican people, remains today a history written but just been told, a forgotten and lost history intentionally.


Evolution, Maroon, History, Congo settlers


New Pedagogies – Indigenous Knowledge and Future Of African Education

Marie Walcott

Education of the youths is the surest guarantee for a better life. (H.I.M.)

Over the decades, we have seen the gradual rise of the academic development among the Rastafari Community; Educators, lecturers, teachers and administrators. These group of professionals are being urged to galvanize in an effort to equip the wider Rastafari Community to higher educational achievement, capabilities and privileges.

Early childhood Development which we all know is foundation for an excellent education throughout the life of an individual. Therefore it is necessary to harness the next generation of Rastafari Youth to continue to adhere and preserve the indigenuity of Rastafari through education.

Rastafari children at the early childhood level who operate within the wider society are still discriminated against and marginalized in some of our public educational institutions. An early childhood Institution, of our own origin and nature, would serve to build the confidence of young Rastafari students and create self awareness in terms of their identity as Africans. Such an institution would create a strong unbreakable union.

Rastafari Educators must amalgamate and create useful spaces, strategize to pool resources to attain this reality. Personalized teaching skills, interpersonal development, student/ teacher relationship, moral understanding, career orientation, talent creativity, nutrition, educational sprucing, left and right side of brain function, mathematical and scientific motivation, are some of the pedagogies that need to be explored and executed.

Our educators must do research and develop the methods of education and learning centres that once made African Education the most sought after among peoples of the world. Our attainment of this forgotten method of education must be preserved in order that our future generations may never fall prey to subservient demise.

Education is and was always used for the development of a people but most importantly, the preservation of a culture and its people.

Title of paper: Rastafari the 21st Century & beyond Educator


“The Contribution of Mexican Rastafari Women: A Project on Sustainability and Self Reliance”

Nazli Elena Azueta Tovar (Empress Abeba)

Key Words: Women, Rastafari, sustainability, ecology, natural lifeways, Self-reliance.

Summary of arguments:

 Concepts of Sustainability

 Relationship between women and nature

 Recuperation of womanly principles

 Self-reliance of Rastafari women in México


The concept of development, understood exclusively as growth in economic, consumerist, and industrial expansion is contested by Rastafari women in Mexico. According to them, this concept, or model, is responsible for the deterioration of natural resources and is grounds to develop new models which shift consciousness towards addressing these social and ecological degradations.

Given women’s relationship with nature, and the strong link between the two, arduous work lay ahead of the Sisters of the several Rastafari organizations that make up the community. Among these, they see it their task to defend and recuperate “womanly principles”, which imply harmony, sustainability, and diversity, where all women have a special relationship with nature. Women are a concept and unitary reality, centered on motherhood and protector of life. Additionally, this establishes her experience, be it biologically, determined by the female body and its function (pregnancy, labor, lactation, menstruation), or culturally (rearing of children). This gives women a “natural psyche” different from her “natural” inclination to protect the environment. In essence, it is an extension of her role as a caretaker, not only at the familial level, but at the communal level as well.

It is because of this that Rastafari women focus of sustainability and are destined to undertake this project in Mexico, which includes awakening in being, developing spiritual, physical, mental, and intellectual balance with Mother Earth. And it is through this that they can become lovingly and respectfully socially conscious.


The Journey of Rastafari in Mexico: Overview of its Emergence and Development”

Christian Eugenio López Negrete Miranda (Ras Tsehai)

Keywords: Mexico, Mexican reggae, Rastafari community in Mexico, Rastafari, Razteca.

Summary of arguments:

• Arrival of the Rastafari movement to Mexico.

• The role of reggae music in the development of Rastafari in Mexico.

• The lack of information about Rastafari in Spanish.

• Emperor Haile Selassie I’s visit to Mexico in 1954.

• Emergence of Rastafari community in Mexico.

• Organizational developments actualized by Rastafari in Mexico City.


The Rastafari movement in Mexico emerges in the late 90's, influenced by reggae music that had been its main diffuser beginning in the late 80's. While reggae music had come to Mexico through its neighboring country, Belize, in the 70’s, this "early reggae" did not incorporate the message of Rastafari. However, the bands that emerge in the late 80's begin to incorporate this message due to the influence of roots reggae. And still, the understanding of what Rastafari is was not easy grasped due to the lack of information, documents, and Elders. This allowed Rastafari among other things, to be interpreted quite flexibly and incorporated elements of love, respect for nature, valorization of the indigenous roots, and social protest.

These reggae bands organized a major festival seeking to highlight the indigenous root of Rastafari in Mexico, calling it “Razteca Festival”. This festival grew and created a network between reggae bands in Latin America, allowing for greater movement of information on Rastafari. But it was the understanding and distinction between reggae and Rastafari which remained among those who knew of Emperor Haile Selassie I’s visit to Mexico in 1954. The participation of the Chilean reggae band Gondwana is of particular importance in the development of Rastafari in Mexico, because his percussionist Don Chico, now Ras Don, the first Latin-American Rastafari Elder was who bring information about Rastafari to Mexico, including information on the chants and Nyahbinghi drums. Since the 2000’s, the Rastafari community in Mexico has been under development and has gradually leading to several groups which meet in different parts of the city. Whether as congregations or cultural organizations, they have been involved in different works including theMexico Exhibition Committee which has representatives from each organization to work on Mexico's participation in the Ras Tafari: The Majesty and the Movement Exhibition, to be presented in Ethiopia in 2014. They were also pivotal in recuperating a missing plaque presented by His Majesty during his visit to Mexico, which is currently on display at Metro Stop Ethiopia in the city’s capitol, along with other informational placards on HIM and Rastafari.


Jailhouse set me free I want to go home – the “recognition” of Rastafari as a faith in the UK prison system.

Moqapi Selassie

I am not an academician. I am a Rastafari dub poet and performer. It was I man pleasure and honour to perform at the Inaugural Rastafari Studies Conference in August 2010. I am submitting this abstract as I - as part of Rastafari Heritage - have been working with the National Offender Management Service in the UK around the recognition of Rastafari as a faith within the UK Prison Service.


In July 2012, the UK Prison Service, specifically, the Ministry of Justice through its Executive Agency NOMS (National Offender Management Service) quietly proclaimed that it “recognized” Rastafari as a “faith.” I say “quietly” because many Rastafarians, and others, for that matter, did not - and many still do not -know of this “tacit approval” and what it actually means for Rastafarian prisoners, the Rastafari Community in the UK and worldwide, and, what it means for the Prison Service. This paper will outline the process and some of the implications for the Rastafari Movemant.

From trim ‘im to ‘low ‘im covers the historical efforts made by Rastafarians to live Rastafari within the British context and the struggle to stop Rastafarians being trimmed once arrested and incarcerated. Also “routinization,” “accommodation” and “co-optation” and other concepts will be addressed.

Chanting down Babylon behind the bars outlines what the recognition of Rastafari as a faith in the prison service actually means for the Rastafari prisoners. It not only means the observance of Rastafari Holadays (holidays) but also that Rastafari prisoners can partake in “Corporate Worship.”

Calling Rastafari

The recognition of Rastafari within the UK not only poses questions for the authorities but also for the Rastafari Community. How and in what way will Rastafari deliver? It is time that the manifestation of Rastafari reasoning becomes a reality. Are ones ready?


Rastafarian Art and Craftwork: A Present-Day Livelihood and a Bridge to the Past via African Cultural Retention

Nicole JeanBaptiste

The purpose of this paper is to examine the ways in which Rastafarians utilize the creative arts to sustain a living while upholding Rastafari’s tenets of self-reliance, economic sustainability, and African cultural retention, as well as to emphasize the increased potential for the successful attainment of these objectives in spite of a downward spiraling economic climate. The following arguments will be made.

  1. The practice of art and craftwork among Rastafari is a method of attaining self-reliance, thus economic sustainability.
  2. The need for members of the African Diaspora, particularly Rastafari brethren and sistren, to identify and capitalize on what is often termed as a “hustle” in order to achieve economic sustainability in the face of stagnant unemployment rates.
  3. Several issues may inhibit the attainment of self-reliance and economic sustainability. Some of these issues include an artists’ lack of exposure and poor marketing. However, the Rastafarian community of Jamaica and throughout the Diaspora has made efforts to combat some of these challenges.
  4. The practice and production of Rastafarian art and craftwork is a form of African cultural retention. Here, I will demonstrate similarities between traditional forms of African art and craftwork and that of present-day Rastafarians.

List of Keywords:

Cultural retention, Survivability, Self-reliance, Economic sustainability, Nok culture (Nigeria), Igbo-Ukwu (Nigeria), Ital, Creative art, “hustle”


“Rastafari in Bahia, Brazil”

Janet L. DeCosmo

This paper/presentation will look at the historical persecution of, and acts of discrimination against, Rastafari in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. It is part of a larger body of research begun in 1997 that explores Bahia as a site of Rastafari globalization. (Subsequent trips occurred in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2007, and in 2002 a group Fulbright award allowed a month-long stay in Brazil, a third of the time in Bahia.) Twenty males were interviewed, ranging in age from 32 to 50 years old. Since the last trip, I have continued to stay in touch via the internet with several informants in Bahia. From the first, the informants told me about problems with alcohol, prostitution and crack addiction in the area in which they lived (a historical district known as the Pelourinho). They explained how Rastafari (and practitioners of Candomblé before that) had been discriminated against and brutalized by the police, especially during the period of authoritarian rule (Brazil suffered under a military dictatorship from 1964 to 1986). A Rastafari informant with barely a roof over his head invited me to visit the ghetto in Pelourinho where he lived, describing it as follows:

The situation in Salvador, it’s very poor. It’s very precarious. Like the blood that is running in Zaire, in the old Congo republic, here in Salvador blood is being shed. People are hurting here. The activists, the militants, are very hurt and are repressed by the police. Movements dedicated to revitalization are being put down very strongly. The policeman goes into the Street and fights with his dogs and guns. A majority of us don’t have jobs, and we don’t have a chance and opportunity. It is not given to us the right that we have, the right of surviving. We survive by miracles. We evoke the all-powerful God and we use the positive, supernatural powers. Like the people were fed for 40 years in the desert, like our patriarch Moses, the leader of our people invoked the all-powerful God and the all-powerful God sent food to us. We don’t have basic help of any kind. We are left. We are thrown and confined to the concentration camps that in Brazil they call favelas. These are concentration camps like Auschwitz. Here is hell.

It is apparent that a long history of racial discrimination, class conflict, and political repression in Brazil is concentrated in Bahia. However, this paper will ask specifically about the cultural expressions of Rastafari in Bahia—apart from race and class—that have met with opposition on the part of mainstream authorities.


Dressing Rastafari: Tales of Representation and Oppression

Shelley Morgan

Dress is second skin. For the Rastafari community dress is goes deeper than the skin. Rastafari dress is Rastafari. Dress is the material that is used to separate Rastafari from Babylon. This paper examines the genesis of Rastafari dress to present day and the philosophies that have been used to shape it. The paper is guided by dress stories told by members of the Rastafari community thereby mapping the use of dress both as representation as well as oppression as witness by the bodies upon which Rastafari dress is worn.

The Rastafari dress stories of the “Gucci Rasta Bredren” and the “Sexy Rasta Sistren”, examined through conversations with Rastafari reggae artists as well as younger community members, are observed as the re-positioning of Rastafari in the Babylon. Specific reference is made to the Rastafari dreadlocks dress culture which has the unique characteristics of being spiritual as well as fashionable.

Theories of dress articulate the ability to reveal and strengthen individual and group identities as well as national identity. Dress journeys alongside society and becomes a bookmark of societal changes. Rastafari dress has been positioned as a contributor to the Jamaican dress identity. Within the paper this discussion is interrogated through the lens of the nation’s fashion industry which has sought to capitalise on the popularity Rastafari both regionally and internationally. The paper concludes by seeking to define Rastafari dress within the 21st century and its position of representation and oppression.

Keywords: Rastafari, dress, dress story, representation, oppression, Babylon, Jamaica Fashion Industry.


The Positive-Negative Phenomenon in Rasta Talk: A case of Rasta Philosophy within the Global Arena

Havenol M. Douglas

“A wise man hears one word and understands two.”

(Yiddish proverb, cf. Bernstein 1908, p. 243, qtd in Zuckermann 2000, p. 287)

Language is an important aspect of identity and culture. Rasta Talk, created by Rastafarians in Jamaica, in an attempt to divert from the English Language, which Rastafarians view as inherently deceptive and a perpetuation of colonial administration, does so embody the Rasta Identity. Against this background, this paper seeks to explore Rasta Talk, specifically looking at a most significant philosophical tenet which has been demonstrated to motivate the re-analysis and reformation of English words to create the Rasta Talk Lexicon. I will hereinafter call this philosophical principle the Positive-Negative Phenomenon in Rasta Talk.

The concept of ‘positive’ versus ‘negative’ is indicated to be a crucial element of the Rastafarian philosophy and a phenomenon which appears to have a fundamental bearing on the language of Rastafari. What exactly then, do concepts of “positive” and “negative” entail within the Rastafarian philosophy? And how do these notions impact their language linguistically? This paper will attempt to answer these questions.

An interesting observation that this paper will make, also, is that the philosophy of Rasta is exhibiting signs of universality among Rastafarians, not just in Jamaica, but within the global arena. The paper will therefore examine and analyze, briefly, the Positive-Negative Phenomenon demonstrated in the language of Rastas in Jamaica; and also in the language of Rastas in a European nation – Germany. I will show why English lexical items such as: sleep, hello, July and cigarette; is replaced by Heights-up [aits-op], Hail [iel], June-truth [djuun-tchuut] and Blindgarette [blaingaret], respectively, in Rasta Talk; and why in Germany, a German lexical item such as “kriegen” is replaced by “bekommen”, both meaning “to get”, among some native German Rastafarians.

Data for this paper was drawn from the published works of Velma Pollard (1986 & 1994), John P. Homiak (1996), Peter L. Patrick (1997); Gil’had Zuckermann (2000 & 2004), and from insights gained from my own research/conversations with members of the Rastafarian community: in Jamaica (2006-2012) and in Germany (2012).

Key words : Rasta, positive, negative, phenomenon, Jamaica, Germany, philosophy, tenet; universality, language.


Livity as a Dimension of Identity in Rastafari Thought: Implications for Development in Africana Societies

Lawrence Bamikole

The subject of identity is indisputably one of the central concerns of Rastafari thought. Although the concept of identity is essentially contestable, the way it is used in Rastafari thought is unambiguous - it is an individuating as well as a unifying concept. It is individuating because it marks out how an individual Rastafari is different from one another and unifying, in virtue of the commonalities among Rastafari brethrens and sistrens and how they are also related to other non Rastafari persons living in the same social and political space. This paper examines the notion of livity as a dimension of identity in Rastafari thought. The notion of livity is interpreted not only in terms of norms of diet, but also as a total way life, an ideal way of conducting oneself and how the self is related to others in the society. It is argued in the paper that Rastafari conception of livity can be reconstructed to pave way for a model of development that can positively impact the human condition in Africana societies.

Key words: Identity, Rastafari thought, livity, development, Africana societies.

“The Rasta-far-eyes’ Nano – Spriritual Anthropologies: From Organic Vision Insight to Living Manifestology”

Mark Anthony Williams aka Naabie Nnambie Tafana Navvie Natural (Nana-ta- nana)

It is a given reality of life that Mortimo (Kumi) Planno’s book online, “The Earth Most Strangest Man” has greatly influences millions of scholars globally and continues to do so. The works of Nettleford and Chevannes has also assisted in declaration of the Rastafari Movement and its international studies. However the crimes of the black heart man’s alleged black sciences, has never been brought as evidence before any court of law. Nor has any known study being implemented in locating such black sciences and their operations as rites and rituals, within the 1st, 2nd, 3 rd worlds.With this in mind, my research had to rely on a methodology employed based on indigenous materials and artifacts of linguistics, historical, architectural, cultural anthropologies; while locating the missing union between each area, that of the spiritual anthropology. This has led toward a nine dimensional cosmo-geneo-geographic template of organic visions of wake and dreams of sleep, as a co-relativity of work-rest cycles of natural growth and creativity. This dialectics provided anchor-grammar of each spiritual element, via its manifested processes of dealing with its dreams and visions of nature cosmo-geneo D.N.A – memory intelligence; our nine lives of nano-organics. This nine dimensional anchor-grammar has provided an unbroken synergy, within a geography ranging from ancient heart of paradise, to a modern colonial landscape world façade. Enhanced by recognition of existing parallel life forms of plants and creatures and their liberation instincts, toward self-species survival over millenniums. This accomplishing the aims and objectives of this research paper, in applying scientific insight into the inner sights of the Rasta-far-eyes movement over the specified period. Hence toward the documentation of the nine elements and their growth cycles, as a defined and divine rites – rights of passages within= the organic rituals of life spiritual anthropologies. This leading to a de-mystification and de-misterization of the traditional to modern time space, within a multi-cultural universal law, in the global ethnography of Rastafari as a living manifestology.

The Right to Be: Citizenship, Rights and Rastafari

Leighton Jackson

Citizenship is the first right in the Jamaican Constitution. Unlike the rights prescribed in the Charter of Rights, there are no exceptions carved into the right of citizenship in the Constitution. This paper postulates that citizenship is the most important, most overarching human, social and political right that needs closer attention in the rights-based jurisprudence.

This presentation aims to interrogate the concept of citizenship and the role citizenship plays in human rights. The paper will analyze the evolution of the concept of citizenship; from the ancient Greek societies followed by the modern era signified by the French Revolution, American Revolution, Universal Human Rights and our modern constitutionalism; identifying Professor Simeon McIntosh’s republican civic self-rule as an enlightened approach to viewing human rights within the context of the modern democratic system.

The right to citizenship is the right ‘to be’. In the voice of philosophers such as Kant and Dworkin, it is the right to be ourselves and not the means to others’ ends even if it would be better for others or society as a whole if we were otherwise. From this conception, the right of citizenship is an inherent right from which all other rights flow – human, political, social and economic. Citizenship extends past the idea of enclosed geographical citizenship, and also speaks to citizenship to the world community; a concept especially important in the era of globalization in which we reside.

The historical experience of the Rastafarians illustrates the importance of the recognition of citizenship – the right to be – as an inherent, irresistible human right. Their experience in the legal world shapes a more profound understanding of rights in the contemporary Caribbean and in the world. The core of the paper is an analysis of statute and case law around the world which affects directly a Rastafarian’s right of citizenship – their right to be and the impact this can have on our approach to the rights agenda.

Keywords: Citizenship, Rastafarian, Human Rights, Constitution, Philosophical perspective


Rastafari in the 21st Century: From Movement to Nationhood

Jerome A. Chenevert

This essay examines key philosophical views of Rastafari while correlating them with current literature. The synthesis provides a foundation for a social change proposal. This essay contains three parts: a) philosophies, b) current literature, and social change proposal. It offers a critical examination of the philosophies of Marcus Garvey, Haile Selassie I, and Emmanuel Charles Edwards. The analysis includes an assessment of the similarities, differences, and uniqueness of their views on African (Black) liberation. The key concepts discussed are identity, centralization, leadership, and repatriation. The second component, current literature, is a literature review centered around the themes Rastafari identity and Rastafari in various socio-cultural contexts. The review includes a critical analysis of the objectives, theoretical framework, and social change implications of select literature. The review offers insight on current thinking and issues within Rastafari. The social change section focus on a social change project "Rastafari Education and Economic Ministry ". The social change initiative is a model for collective identity, centralization, and repatriation.

Key Words: Rastafari, identity, social movement, Rastafari movement, culture, African liberation, repatriation


Amilcar Sanatan

“Breaking Bricks of Babylon: Rastafari Contributions to Caribbean Development”

The value of culture is underscored in the development policy consultation and formation. The role of culture is oftentimes relegated to an explicit political tool that patronizes client communities rather than focus on the different ‘kinds’ of culture that provide new considerations to national development.

Indigenous knowledge, creative expressions and creative economic activity are systematically excluded from the developmental process. The purpose of this paper is to engage in the debates of development studies and the role of culture in it. It is my aim to raise questions and explore possible interventions Rastafari principles can make in Caribbean economies and societies.

In order to highlight the diverse way in which culture, creative industries, policy and development are inextricably linked, I employ a conceptual framework that puts Rastafari principles such as commitment to the environment, human development, education and history in challenging economic problems of social origin, and so on, at the centre; the literature suggests that these blind spots in policy need to be addressed.



Ras Shango Baku

Until the 1980’s Rastafari was more written about by outsiders than documented from within. In its first 30 years Rastafari developed as a mainly oral tradition. Idiom, ceremony and livity slowly took shape at Pinnacle, the first Rastafari commune. From there the movement evolved despite constant persecution and became an accredited culture in the early 60’s.

Music carried the message across the airwaves from the 60’s onwards. Singers and players of instruments were the first ambassadors of the movement. They projected an evocative vision of the sufferer: dreadlocked militancy and African pride, yearning for a distant land ruled by God in flesh.

The late 70’s saw the rise of the first Rastafari publications in the Caribbean, America and England. Rastafari Speaks, Rastafari International, Voice of Rasta, Rootz Magazine, etc began to document and authenticate the doctrine in print form. This was a new departure. It changed external perceptions. The cult image of Rastafari was replaced by a self-defining medium in the public arena. The period coincided with the international spread of the movement beyond Jamaica and the Carry-beyond into the Americas, Europe, Africa and beyond.

In the last decade of the 20th century new technology and social media added another dimension to the popularisation of Rastafari. A profusion of websites carrying vibrant insights and iconic images came into vogue. Perhaps over-publicity now tends to confuse rather than clarify the ideology and true portent of the movement.

More than ever a centralising voice (and secretariat) are needed now that the nation has established constituencies in every land on earth. A case must be made for an Association of Rastafari Media (ARM), one that combines the best of authentic Rastafari information and historical data with updates on the movement’s progress, aims and objectives in the 21st C.



Ras Shango Baku

There is a point in the rise of the Rastafari nation – in every land where it manifests – where the flowering heads of dreadlocked youths burgeon simultaneously, instinctively, as though by collective, intuitive consent.

This was the case in the UK in the mid 1970’s. Suddenly, in every major city of Britain black youths in their thousands adopted the mantle and covenant of the movement, spurred on by the music of Rastafari and the winds of revolutionary change that were sweeping through the Black world.

In London a few Rastafari activists appeared on the streets in the late 50’s; but these were mainly associated with the Jamaican movement. They sought to develop official links with Ethiopian institutions so as to strengthen the legitimacy of the home-grown community.

It took another two decades for the movement to reach critical mass. The youths of Caribbean immigrants found an answer to the crisis of identity in the ideology of Rastafari. Their parents had fought for social acceptability in the cold, hostile climate of the UK. Once settled, they had accepted a submissive position as second-class citizens, with passive ‘Christianity’ cushioning them against the harsh realities of an unwelcoming Mother Country.

Not so the youths. They had been born, schooled and reared in a British system that disallowed them equal status with their peers. They felt alienated and marginalised from participation in mainstream society. So they embraced the doctrine of Rastafari with its built-in codes of Black pride, dignity, and rebellion against mystery Babylon.

By 2000 the movement had flatlined, necessarily. Rastafari was subsumed by the British society and a level of complacency enveloped the rank and file of the community. But by then a new phase – Repatriation – came into being.

This paper traces the evolution of Rastafari in the UK.


Ras Tafari Patronage and Reciprocal Relations: From the University of Adversity to the Halls of the Smithsonian Institute - An Oral Project

Ras Wayne Rose

In seeking to understand the trajectory of the Ras Tafari Movement from the impoverished communities of Jamaica, to its tributaries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Central, South and North America, and leading to its enshrinement in the “Discovering Ras Tafari Exhibit” at the Smithsonian Institute of Natural History, Washington DC, interviews were conducted with one of North America’s leading scholar on Ras Tafari, Dr. John (Jake) Homiak, and Ras Tafari pioneer and the executive Director of one of the leading Ras Tafari organizations in North America, Elder Maurice Clarke (Ras Irice). These interviews serve as primary documents within troves of resources being used in a formal doctoral research at Morgan State University.

The oral narratives collected provided new insights and perspectives on the origination, initiation and process through which the idea for the 2007 Smithsonian Institute’s “Discovering Ras Tafari Exhibit” morphed. The revelations placed Ras Tafari in the roles of both patron and co-facilitators to the Exhibit. They also exposed the journeys of two young adults, who, through a combination of spiritual ordination, sociopolitical acculturation and, intentional motivations, played significant roles in the development and presentation of the “Discovering Ras Tafari Exhibit.”

Of great significance also, to the historic and contemporary mission of Ras Tafari is the continuing work of both Elder Ras Irice, Executive Director of the Iniversal Development of Ras Tafari Inc (IDOR), and Dr. Jake Homiak, Director of Collections and Archives at the Smithsonian Institute. They both pursue and promote tangible aspects of the mission articulated by Emperor Haile Selassie I, that of being Members of a ‘New Race’ with allegiance, not to mere nations and ethnicities, but to Africa – Humanity!

I am proposing a video presentation of the best 15 minutes of the interviews, plus a brief analysis of the content of the interviews and a panel consisting of Elder Ras Irice and Jake Homiak to answer questions generated from the interviews and the Discovering Ras Tafari Exhibit.

It is my hope that the information and oral narrative extracted and documented in these two interviews, will serve as an impetus toward greater research and clarity about Ras Tafari, and the Smithsonian’s Exhibit on Ras Tafari. At a minimum, I hope it becomes a source of information and knowledge for all who are interested in the Discovery of Ras Tafari, from the social, cultural, and spiritual perspective, and also, as a new and evolving faculty of knowledge, thinking, and being.

All praises to Haile Selassie I!


Bob Marley - the Social Entrepreneur - A Rebel with a cause " – A Business Model Approach

Kadamawe Knife, Collin Leslie and Edward Dixon

The works and impact of Bob Marley on the global stage in relation to Rastafari philosophy, culture and music, is the most referenced in academia. As the research surrounding his work increases more ideas immerge reflecting the enormity of his impact. While significant work has been done from philosophical components there is a scarcity of research on the economic/enterprise elements within his ‘mission’. Undoubtedly Bob Marley reflected the characteristics of an entrepreneur, among them being mission driven, innovative, creative, persistent, self-motivated and a risk taker. More importantly he reflected the characteristics of a special group of entrepreneurs, Social Entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs are driven not by profits but by the fulfilling of a social mission. Undoubtedly Bob Marley on several occasion argued that it was not about money evidenced through his music and interviews. This paper examines and evidences the life of Bob Marley the social entrepreneur detailing this through the entrepreneurial process and a business model methodology for social entrepreneurs. The paper thus contributes to this growing field of scholarship and distinguishes itself through the anlaysis of a regional social entrepreneurs; an area of research which is still in its infancy.

Key Words : Rastafari, Bob Marley, Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship and Business Models


The Ganja Chronicle: the Law vs. the People

Louis Moyston

By using extensive newspaper articles and archival data, this researcher aims to present a study looking at the history of ganja. It designs a portrait of the topic within the context of a history law making rooted in fear of black people by the white minority of post-slavery Jamaican society prior to Independence (Similar to earlier laws against drumming and dancing and Obeah). It identifies the role of the church, the newspaper, police and white elites in those anti-ganja campaigns calling for stronger laws to control ganja smoking. It offers an instructive history of the amendments of the Ganja (Law of 1913) from the 1930’s to the 1970’s. The study shows that after Howell’s trial and imprisonment in March 1934, there began a national campaign against ganja and an increasing effort to associate Rastafarians to ganja smoking. Ganja was accused of many crimes ranging from violence, murder, robbery among other charges. It is against this background this researcher charges that the Ganja (Law of 1913) and its many amendments coupled with the role of the police, have been used to harass and oppress lower class black people especially Rastafarians.


Literature on Rastafari: 1955 to 2003

Louis Moyston

The first major effort of a systematic review of literature on Rastafari was conducted by Owens, 1975. It looks at related studies from 1955 to 1974 and presents a stinging critique of the early theory led sociological studies of the topic. This researcher aims to refine and expand Owens’ compilation, covering the range of studies beyond the early sociological works to include the socio-anthropological, anthropological, political (thought construction) and historical inquiries of the social phenomenon. This notes with interest Chevannes’ attempt to design want I call a “Jamaican epistemology” in his study of the idea and movement. What is noticeable in the works of Chevannes, other anthropologists and the earlier sociological works is the emphasis of Garvey as prophet/philosopher of Rastafari. The later historical and political studies relied on historical data that permit them to present a story on the topic by looking at the man, the time and the place. By using archival data they were able to design a portrait of the emergence of the movement in its original setting, the nature of the doctrine and the central role of Howell in the process. These works highlights the interactions between Howell, his followers and the church, the planters and the colonial authorities. They assist in the examination of the important role of Howell and early Rastafari in anti-colonial politics of the 1930’s.

Rastafari and Reparations: Placing Rastafari in the context of the Debate on Reparations for Caribbean Countries

Omar Ryan

One of the main issues that the Rastafari community is greatly concerned about is for former ex-colonial African and Diaspora societies getting redress for the wrongs of slavery and colonialism.

It is Rastafari which says “Equal Rights and Justice”. This justice involves former enslaved peoples getting redress for the atrocities that were brought upon the African peoples.

This paper will look at the main advocacy tenets of Rastafari as it relates to Reparations and how it has transcended the Rastafari community. The historical development, precedents, the concept of reparations in international law and other legal arguments will be looked at and overviewed; the paper will make an assessment as to the likelihood of success in the current call for reparations.


Repression against RastafarI as defenders of African identity and the international legal genocide in international law within the context of the global African reparations claim

Nora Wittman

I will span a bow from the special violence and destruction inflicted on Africans defending their Africaness in transatlantic slavery, such as Maroons, to the modern day persecution of RastafarI because of their unrelenting upholding of their Africaness, and ground this within an international law reasoning on genocide and reparations.

In the research that constitutes the base for my Ph.D in international law, I established along international law precepts that transatlantic slavery, as part of the Maafa, was not only illegal and a crime against humanity at the time it was perpetrated, but that transatlantic slavery and the Maafa at large meet the legal elements of genocide. This is not generally accepted because it is claimed that one of the legally required definition elements of genocide, intent, would not be given in the case of transatlantic slavery. In international law doctrine and practise, mass murder directed against members of a definable group is only then considered genocide when the perpetrators aim at exterminating the targeted group, or a part of it, as such. With regard to transatlantic slavery, it is usually contended that this intent requirement would be missing because the aim of Europeans would not have been to exterminate Africans or groups of Africans as such, but to extract work from them.

In the conference contribution I will extend the line of historical evidence that transatlantic slavery was genocide to the present day persecution of the RastafarI movement, in some regards successor or descendant of the Maroons. Fundamentally and as the Maroon ancestors, bredren and sistren are upholding, defending their Africaness, their identity against the slave master and their colonial and neo-colonial puppet schemes against all odds. And for this exactly same reason that the Maroons got the worst of persecution then, RastafarI bredren and sistren got and get the worst of persecution and harassment up to this day, be it in Pinnacle, Coral Gardens or Rasta City/Tivoli Gardens. RastafarI still, even after 500 years of genocidal assault on their African identity, reclaim and proudly display their Africaness, and this is why they are bothering so much and encountering so much harassment. This needs to be streamlined in the line of evidence that transatlantic slavery was genocide and in the general legal claim for global African reparations.


“Using ‘The Trade as a Form of Control’: On the Commercialization of Ganja and the Role of Commerce in the Babylonian Conspiracy in The Harder They Come

Clifford T. Manlove

Along with the “Church” and “Government,” according to Rastafari, Commerce is one of the three principal (trans-)national institutions supporting Babylon, and defining its worldview. Even as these three institutions are each self-interested and self-perpetuating, they also work in a loose affiliation with one another, forming an informal “Conspiracy” to empower Babylon’s creation of the “hell-on-earth” that is otherwise known as “Modernity” (or “[Western} Civilization”). In order to develop a theory about the distinctive place of Commerce in the economy of Babylon—and the nature of its relations/partnerships with Church and Government—this paper proposes to analyze the role of the “ganja trade” in Perry Henzell and Trevor Rhone’s The Harder They Come. While the film showcases reggae and the music industry, “the Trade” also becomes the central tension and narrative mover in the film, as evidenced by the role (international) political economy plays in Harder, and in Ivanhoe Martin’s fate. Although the central character, Martin, builds his fame by way of the music industry, and shooting his way out of a police cordon, it is also clear that what makes him a heroic figure—despite his tragic embrace of fame—is his understanding that he and his fellow Traders are being exploited and controlled by the Babylonian Conspiracy running Kingston. Martin’s decision to join the Trade is a result of the music producer’s (fittingly named Hilton) decision to prevent Martin’s song from being played by Kingston’s DJs. Martin takes the message of resistance and social justice that leads to his blacklisting by the music industry and turns it to the Trade where, ultimately, his effort to organize the Traders is controlled and exploited by the Babylonian Conspiracy.

KEYWORDS: Babylon, Babylonian Conspiracy, Church, Civilization, Commerce, Film, Ganja, Ganja Trade, Government, The Harder They Come, Modernity, Reggae, the Trade


From King Alpha and Queen Omega to I ’n’ I: Toward a “Rasta Theory” Via Rastafari’s Overstanding of Subjectivity, Leadership, and Social Organization

Clifford T. Manlove

Every political, social, or cultural theoretical methodology has an approach to the vexed, paradoxical relationship of the singular individual—the “leader”—to the community (especially other singular individuals in that community). Rastafari is no exception in having a theory of leadership, despite its anti-authoritarian worldview evidenced in their resistance to the authoritarian proclivities of Babylon. Rastafari has a theory of political leadership and social organization that is not only unique in the history of political economy and linguistics, but is also more broadly indicative of a Rasta theory and method which is applicable to many aspects of overstanding humanity. To this end, Rasta theory can be found in its most primary knowledge and in the Rasta language (“Rasta Talk”). For the purposes of my thesis here on Rastafari’s theory of subjectivity and inter-subjectivity, I look to two fundamentally unique pieces of Rasta knowledge: firstly, every Rasta man and woman is King Alpha and Queen Omega and, secondly, Rastas insist on using the pronoun, “I ’n’ I,” rather than “I” or “we.” As Bob Marley puts it in the opening two lines of his song, “Zimbabwe”: “Every man got the right to decide his own destiny. And in this judgment there is no partiality.” Each subject of Rastafari is a co-equal King or Queen who must determine whether or with whom to seek community and, once that decision is made, to make a personal investment in leadership. For textual evidence of my argument, I look to speeches by His Imperial Majesty, to the roots reggae of Bob Marley, the 1960 “Report on the Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica.”

KEYWORDS: Anti-authoritarian, Community, I ’n’ I, Inter-subjectivity, King Alpha, Leadership, Bob Marley, Queen Omega, Rasta Talk, Rasta Theory, “Report on the Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica,” Roots Reggae, Subjectivity, “Zimbabwe”


“No More Internal Power Struggle:” Rastafari, Tanzania and Pan-African Debates, 1974-1999”

Monique Bedasse

“The struggle to return home to Mother Afrika should be seen as an integral part of the Black Afrikan Liberation struggle and not separate and apart as the down-pressors of the race would want the one black African family to believe, and which sadly many do.”[7]

When Jamaican Rastafarian, Ras Bupe Karudi, detailed the experience of repatriation to Tanzania in a document entitled “Repatriation of Afrikans from Jamaica to Africa,” he affirmed the Pan-African focus of the Rastafarian movement with his assertion that the struggle to return to Africa was indeed a part of the wider transnational African struggle for liberation. But, he also pointed to the divisions that existed within the struggle, which, he argued, disrupted the unity of the “black Afrikan family.”

This paper uses the 6th Pan African Congress, which was held in Tanzania in 1974, as its point of departure to place Rastafari at the center of the evolution of Pan-Africanism. The congress brought to the fore the contradictions and challenges within Pan-Africanism during the period under study. Decolonization in Africa and the Caribbean had put Pan-Africanism to the test as newly installed black governments began to suppress and marginalize grassroots activism. As conference organizers engaged in debates about whether or not non-state actors would be allowed to attend the conference, firm lines, that led prominent figures, such as C.L.R James, to boycott the conference, were drawn. It was clear that decolonization had ushered in a different set of challenges to Pan-Africanism, leaving disillusionment for many in its wake.

Yet, as this paper will demonstrate, the interaction between Rastafari and the Tanzanian state, beginning in 1976, posed a challenge to such rigid divisions. As Jamaican Rastafarians sought the ideological and physical realization of repatriation in post-colonial Tanzania, they engaged the Tanzanian state, asserted their particular notion of diaspora, gained permanent residency and secured land for what they defined as “resettlement.”

While the study of the Rastafarian movement has focused primarily on Rastafari in narrow national terms, emphasizing its relationship to Jamaican society in particular, I argue that the movement has played a critically important role in the international history of African liberation. In particular, I argue that in the face of serious debates over the future of Pan-Africanism, Rastafari made an indelible mark on the evolution of Pan-African thought and praxis.



Donna P. Hope

This paper builds on earlier work on the post-millennial manifestations of Rastafari in Jamaican popular music to examine what has become identified as the 2nd wave of Rasta Renaissance/Renewal in Jamaican popular music since the turn of the millennium. This renewed wave of Rastafari infused musical treatises, led by a core group of young artistes, is aggressively carving out a space within contemporary musical debates in Jamaica, by arguing for its value and relevance in a society and musical landscape that has ‘gone astray’. Yet, locked with this religious worldview is a driving force that feeds from an explicit and thus contradictory capitalist ethos in a musical debate that is driven by the philosophical and religious ethos of an anti-capitalist, egalitarian worldview.

Using comparative analysis based on select case studies and interwoven with lyrical text, this paper highlights similarities and differences between both post-millennial, 1st and 2nd waves of Rastafari music within the wider framework of Jamaican popular music, and evaluates the relationship of this current manifestation to select thematic strands of Rastafari philosophy.

Keywords : Reggae, Rastafari, Rastafari Renaissance, 21st Century, Jamaican Popular Music, Capitalism


Come to Jamaica and feel alright: Rastafarian Image and the Tourist Gaze

Lisa Tomlinson

My paper attempts to contextualise the tourist gaze concept as it pertains to the Rastafarian image that is commonly used by Jamaica’s tourism industry to market Jamaica. The scope of my paper focuses on the sanitised version of Rastafarian culture that has been commodified to market Jamaica’s tourist industry. Special attention is given to the co-opting of symbolic Rastafarian images, popular culture, and Rasta speech. The paper also explores and questions the exclusion of Rastafarians from this marketing scheme that has been appropriated by the Jamaican tourist industry.

French theorist Michel Foucault (1973) coined the tourist gaze concept in connection with the historical development of medicine. British sociologist John Urry, (1990) however, adapted and extended the term gaze to tourism. Accordingly, the gaze is a socially organised way of viewing things that necessitates both an observing subject (the viewer) and something for the subject to look at, the “Object”, or the “Other”. Hence, a significant concept of the tourist gaze is that the viewers are cognizant of the differences that exist between themselves and the “Other”. The gaze also represents an expression of power that serves to subordinate the “Other”. In maintaining this power hierarchy within the gaze, the tourist industry “takes advantage of its clients’ latent insecurities by appealing to fantasy worlds beyond the range of their experience. Tourists are fed the illusion that these worlds can be acceded to—and controlled” (Huggan 208). The tourist gaze is further described by sociologist John Urry as the set of expectations that tourists put on the native populations when they take part in cultural tourism, in the search of consuming an “authentic” experience. In response to tourist expectations which is oftentimes performed through cultural and racial stereotypes, local populations redirect the “gaze” of the expectations of tourists in order to benefit financially. The paper will briefly take up the “rent a dread” construct to further expound on this latter point.


Buju’s Alpha and Omega: Revisiting ‘Boom Bye Bye’ and Reggae’s Human Rights Agenda

Sonjah Stanley Niaah

There is perhaps only one Jamaican recording that has had the impact of virtually ending careers, stifling tours, fuelling incendiary debates, silencing artists, and demanding apologies. The furore around Buju Banton’s ‘Boom Bye Bye’ recording has been unprecedented in its magnitude and reach. Emerging as a DJ in the late 1980s and gaining international acclaim by the mid 1990s, Banton had the honour of being among those considered as Bob Marley’s successors by the time of the transition to Rastafari livity and the release of his 1995 album Til Shiloh. Banton who is now incarcerated on drug and gun related charges in the United States, has given the world a mix of tunes dedicated to girls, safe sex, rude boys, Rastafari meditations, and general social commentary. Despite the accolades, successful reign and impact, Banton’s career has been marked, some might say marred, by Boom Bye Bye’s precarious politics which has placed reggae’s longstanding and under-researched Rastafari-led human rights agenda squarely in an international gay rights ontological, theological and philosophical conundrum. There has even been speculation that the gay lobby carefully orchestrated Banton’s demise via imprisonment on drug charges. By deconstructing Banton’s conception of the (hetero-normative) union between man and woman (expressed within the iconography of the balance of Alpha and Omega) revealed in song, and using Boom Bye Bye as a point of departure, this paper examines reggae’s human rights agenda, with artists such as Tosh and Marley as pioneers, its contemporary clash with the gay rights agenda, and the conflicts manifesting in the contraction of the reggae / dancehall economy around artiste mobility, tours, concerts, and brands. The paper argues that the revolutionary spiritual pilgrimage from ‘one love’ to the rhythmic contagion of ‘hate lyrics’ is complex and may be viewed through the lens of vernacular cosmopolitanisms around the sacred and secular, rights and eroticism.

Key words :

Buju Banton, Reggae, Dancehall, Jamaican Music, Human Rights, Gay Rights, Rastafari, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley


Jamharics: The Children of Zion

Nadine Drummond

“22 Jamaican families armed with faith and determination left their Caribbean island and headed to southern Ethiopia between 1952 - 1974 where they established and developed Shashamane.

5000 acres of land awarded to Africans in the diaspora by then ruler, Emperor Haile Selassie for their support during the Italian occupation. Throughout decades of upheaval including famine, war in neighboring nations and economic decline their faith and community stood strong.

Now it's time for a new generation to take forward the ideas of their pioneering elders. While they have the spirituality, identity and culture to move forward, faith is waning. The community is facing its biggest challenge yet as multiple threats look set to change the course of these children of Zion.
Some want the community to realize its economic potential by opening up to outsiders who'll inevitably alter the ecology of the area. And there are serious health concerns with the growing prevalence of HIV. For those children isolated from mainstream Ethiopia who've never experienced a life outside of the settlement are bitter. Who will save the children of Zion?"

Why Nadine’s work adds value to this Rastafari General Assembly?

· My work shows that against the odds repatriation is possible and presents in real time a community founded by Jamaican Rastafari people that survived and thrived in what continues to be at times a hostile environment.

· A presentation of my work will elevate Shashamane to its rightful place. My research has shown that the community has been largely forgotten by the broader international Rasta community and Caribbean and African American academics have seen fit to write them out Pan African history.

· Please note I am the only Caribbean person who has conducted extensive studies on the Jamharic community in Shashamane. There have been three other studies. One by a white Rasta sistren (doctoral thesis), another by a white Canadian woman, (doctoral thesis), and the final one by an Ethiopian MA student.



Dr. Linda Aïnouche

Dreadlocks story is the first film that will address the issue of matted hair with Hindus and Rastas, as well as the common bonds and the misunderstandings.

Hairstyle is one of the most universal and unavoidable forms of body art. And, one of the most interesting and commonly misunderstood hairstyles is matted hair lock. Through the hairstyle, the audience will learn about Indian legacy, Hindu heritage in Jamaica and its influence on Rastafari movement, how Indians transported to Jamaica as workers had been treated as slaves, and what is Rastafari movement itself with among others the predominent role played by women, the Emperor Haile Selassie I, Marcus M. Garvey and Leonard P. Howell.

The way of Rastas in Jamaica and Sadhus in India organize their hair gathers close connections, as well rises up important social and cultural questions. In Hinduism and in Rastafari, hair is a covenant, a contract with God (Shiva or Haile Selassie I), although people use them as way for a social struggle, a signal of transformation, a mark of glorious cause defended, as well. Anyhow, for both of Rastas and Sadhus, matted hair symbolizes a way to bond, to tie and to promote a powerful mind state out of the mainstream…

Mostly, Rastas, partisans of Rastafari movement base their legacy from Africa (In 1950’s the film Something of value which has been diffused in Jamaica would have been a trigger to start hair locking, and also Mau Mau with their supposedly hair locked in Kenya Independance fight). Rastafari pledges a response to African heirs to recover and rebuild their culture suppressed by brutal stultifying European domination. Within, it is an attempt for the survival of African culture and an up-front anti-slavery, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle. However the inspirations of Indian spirituality to the founder of Rastafari, Leonard Percival Howell, known as the First Rasta, who wrote The Promised Key, around 1935, under a Hindu nickname are historically proved to postulate

such an intercultural parallel between matted hair of Rastas and that of Sadhus.

Rastas believe on Old Testament, in which Samson’s hair is unveiled as a strength, but nothing else about their life style claimed is revealed into this book e.g. to follow a vegetarian diet, to exhibit symbolisms of peace and love, or again to incarnate God, etc.

In contrast, Hinduism arouses them in its writings, such as Sadhus way of life. Although dreadlocks are emblematic of the strong social and cultural attributes that characterize Rastas, they did not confine but flew throughout the Caribbean and Diasporas, notably, into England with the Jamaican exodus. Thus, their origins reveal themselves to be secondary to the vital role it is playing.


The Highest Spiritual Gift to the Brethrens: The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Bete-Christian (EOTC).

Oral ‘Daniel’ Taylor (Ras Gabre Medhin)

This paper seeks to explore and to explain the EOTC as the only authentic African/Ethiopian institution among INI (us) and therefore is ideal to facilitate INI (our) aspiration to organize, centralize and become one (Tewahedo). The EOTC is also an ideal institution to negotiate INI objectives for reparation and repatriation. This perspective is necessary in order to counter the attempts made by many Rastafarian and non-Rastafarian scholars to illuminate the EOTC from the discourses on Rastafari.

This paper also wants to highlight the fact that many of the manifestations of Rastafarians in terms of ceremonies, celebrations, aesthetics and interpretations actually resemble Ethiopian Orthodoxy. This position is also important to explore, in order to present an alternative understanding of the Rastafari ethos that certain scholars argue to evolve from African retention religions such as Kumina, Pocomania, revivalism and others.

As a result, The EOTC in Jamaica will be presented as a totally different Christian institution in terms of its biblical interpretations and mission when compared to the Babylonian (Western) Christian churches such as the Roman Catholic, Protestants and Evangelical churches. In fact, the role and place of the EOTC in Jamaica is revolutionary and liberatory and therefore should be understood as an African spiritual institution deemed to reclaim a people to their own vine. In other words, the main aim of the EOTC in Jamaica and the Western World is to gather the lost and scattered Children of Israel to their own Kingdom. I therefore argue that the EOTC in Jamaica is the spiritual realm of His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie 1 and Rastafarians need to embrace this gift in order to achieve full liberation. This interpretation will be presented and elaborated.


Christianity and the King: The Relationship between Ethiopians and Rastafari
Erin MacLeod

The divinity of Haile Selassie is important to the Rastafari movement. When Haile Selassie arrived in Jamaica to the adulation of crowds of Rastafari, how did he feel? Though there is no official or personal record of Haile Selassie’s response to Rastafari belief in himself as messiah, what can we gain from discussions with those who knew him? Through interviews with members of the Royal Family, as well as representatives from the church and the government, we can gain some understanding of how a belief in the divinity of His Imperial Majesty has been absorbed in Ethiopia. Members the Royal family focus on the Rastafari as promoters of Ethiopia and see the church as Haile Selassie’s gift of thanks. Ethiopian Orthodox priests, for their part, believe that the Rastafari will “eventually” accept Christ over Haile Selassie. The Rastafari, as well, believe they will “eventually” be embraced and understood. This paper will navigate the relationship between Ethiopians and Rastafari through varied views of the King of Kings and the King's own faith, that of the Ethiopian Tewehedo Church. It will look at the ways in which Ethiopians have embraced and distanced themselves from the Rastafari movement and suggest some connections and possibilities.


Rastafari in the Grenadian Revolution.

Arthur Newland

The paper reviews the prominent presence of Rastafari in the making of the anglophone Caribbean's only successful revolutionary insurrection. It identifies some clear failures of the New Jewel Movement vanguard, as displayed in the treatment of Rastafari leaders like Prince Nna Nna. It critically assesses the proposals for Rastafari to play a more political role in shaping future Caribbean life options.


On the Politics and Practices of Identity: naming Caribbean Settlers in Ethiopia

Giulia Bonacci

Since the 1950s a predominantly Caribbean population have settled on the outskirts of Shashemene, a southern Ethiopian market town. Originally initiated by the Pan African policies of Emperor Haile Selassie I (1930-1974), this repatriation process slowed down during the years of the derg regime but then accelerated, with a renewed vitality, in the 1990s. The aim of this paper is to analyze the politics and practices of identities in a diasporic context through comparative examples of Caribbean and Ethiopian name-taking and name-giving. I will argue that the politics of naming reveal both the complexities of the diasporic subject and those of the national setting, thus mapping the boundaries of otherness. Based on extensive research in Jamaica and Ethiopia, this paper will draw on archival and oral resources in English, Jamaican patois and Amharic. I will explain how Caribbeans, inspired by a popular tradition of ethiopianism, identify themselves as ‘real Ethiopians.’ Particular attention will be given to the ways in which this selfnomination is reformulated once in Ethiopia. Taking an historical perspective, I will then analyze the different names given to the Caribbeans by Ethiopians: ‘sädättegna faranjoch,’ ‘tukkur americawi,’ ‘Jamaicans,’ ‘Rastafari,’ but as well ‘faranj’, ‘balabbat and ‘bahria’. These names reveal the changing representations that the Ethiopian administration and population have of the Carribeans and the shifting position of the latter in Ethiopian society. This contribution will provide an original example of the politics and practices of identity and contribute to rethinking the complex relationships between contemporary Ethiopia and a diaspora now ‘coming home.’


Ethiopia and Rastafari has existed since the creation of mankind. Godfery Higgins even points to the Two Ethiopias and points to the notion that All was Black before it became white, even mentioning Black Doves of Dodoma. Our Kingship dates from King Ori 4478B.C to HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.

The New World Order comes from the Old Word Order was previously defined as church and state. The Old order controlled the wealth of Europe as it does today. What has shifted is the scientific revolution causing a shift in the dynamics to create a New World Order.

With the discovery of the “New World,” the transition of the Slave Trade along with the colonialization of Africa, European wealth increased at an alarming rate. Not only was there an increase in wealth but also an increase in social behavior which led to the scientific revolution. This gave birth to an economic market which sparked increased production with profitability.

Raw materials were required for the production of goods in which this economic market can flourish. Examples of this economic push are given in transitional periods which give an insight to the depths of development of this market to the global scale as the world becomes technologically defined.

The new effect of this global consortium is defined as the New World Order and the Unification of Africa under African terms(controlling the natural resources) along with education are the key factors in the true preservation of Africa.


The Coral Garden’s Massacre: More Testimonies…New Victims

Rastafari Youth Initiative Council

Via Robert Gordon

In ilibration of the 50th commemoration of the Coral Garden’s Massacre of April 1963, the Rastafari Youth Initiative Council (RYIC) is looking forward to presenting a documentary film on the topic of the Coral Garden’s at the Rastafari Studies Conference (RSC) held in August 2013 at the UWI, Mona Campus. From a dominant RYIC perspective, such a RSC will give the Rastafari youth an opportunity to express their intellect on the above subject matter. As a result of the council’s recent investigation on the Coral Garden’s Massacre and its aftermath, the RYIC is seeking to add scholarly data to the existing body of knowledge on the topic. Unlike any other documentary on the subject matter, this film will focus primarily on the testimonies of the living descendants of victims of the Coral Garden’s Massacre who are accredited as victims by this documentary. In addition, the council will also gather fascinating testimonies from members of the Rastafari community who were potential victims of such genocide, but who claim to have been miraculously delivered by “Jah” from the gruesome attacks and extra judicial killings of the Jamaican security forces. Also as a focus, this documentary will seek to highlight possible ways forward for the Rastafari community in terms of reparations, reconciliation and restorative justice.

“Rastafari as a sustainable Lifestyle: Messages from Jamaica”

Laura Maier

The content

“Through its inside, personal and genuine view on the movement the documentary aims to inspire people worldwide on a more sustainable lifestyle embedded in the context of Rastafari.”

The documentary film “Rastafari as a sustainable Lifestyle: Messages from Jamaica” aims to show an in-depth inside view on how the philosophy of Rastafari offers a sustainable lifestyle. The need for a sustainable lifestyle is as global as the movement’s principles of “equal rights and justice for all”. Due to the movement’s global spread (particularly through Reggae) and influence (particularly on Africa and marginalized people), there is a lot of potential in convincing more and more people to live more sustainable and to educate them about sustainability.

The film tries in every aspect to be of anthropological nature: At no time, ‘outside’ voices on Rastafari about Rastafari can be heard. Instead, only the inside perspectives from people of the movement are expressed. Also, the film is inspired by Rastafari, and therefore it is supposed to not only entertain, but educate! It therefore merges into a piece of ‘EDUtainment’. The educational part about the need for a sustainable lifestyle gets highlighted through the only non-Rastafari character in the film, Dr. Kevon Rhiney (Geography Department, UWI), who is educating the audience about climate change, it’s drivers, possible projections and behaviors of a more sustainable lifestyle. This lays the foundation for anyone not aware of the seriousness of climate change and the urgent need for people to live more sustainable.

The choice of the rest of the characters in the movie tries to reflect the diversity of the Rastafari movement regarding social background, age and occupation: Amongst others the Social Entrepreneur specialist Dr. Kadamawe Knife (39), Kemetic Yoga teacher Iyabinghi Ashanti Tafari (50), music producer Jamal Layne (23), and Singer Kiddus I (68) all have an urgent concern about mother earth and the future of humanity. Throughout the movie the Rastafari characters ‘reason’ on nature, community, ‘Livity’ - approach to work and life - and the current wrongs of Babylon. At the same time they stand as specific examples of people who live in harmony with nature and who develop sustainable businesses ideas and concepts. By teaching ‘peace, love, and unity’, Rastafari promotes the unification of all people to work together for a balanced world


peeta uppa pan tap

Kereen Karim

PUPT is ethnography and history through biography. Peter Tosh was a lone warrior against corruption and racial bigotry in his island home. This short visual essay came about through a chance meeting with his mother; the now 97 year old Alvira Coke, who becomes coquettish when I ask her to sing her favourite song by her son;

'Mi cyaan badda wid dat now yaa missis, dem wi know a wha.' - Maaga Daag 1967

PUPT opens with a paean, in Amharic, from Peter, who took the magnanimous step - not unlike many serious Rastas - of learning the ancient Abyssinian language, along with its sister tongue, Geez. The 'moniker story' of how ‘Winston Hubert’ became 'Peter' is then told by Alvira. A few examples of some of her son’s timeless work follows.

Peter wrote ‘Apartheid’ in 1977 as an indictment of the social system in ante-Mandela South Africa. PUPT uses the song generically, to speak to the ‘unofficial apartheid’ that exists in Jamaica; uptown/downtown & African v European.

Rightful Ruler from 1970....co-recorded with U-Roy.

In Fools Die P. intones that 'the poor man's wealth is in a holy place.' Then in 'Downpressor Man' he tells us that;


….and that he ‘wouldn't like to be a flea’ in a tyrant's collar. In 'Here Comes The Grudge', P. is at his satiric best, when he plays adjudicator at a mock trial of famous and legendary colonisers.

Initially, economic hardship prevented mother & son from spending quality time together. PUPT gives them a little. Disagreements emerge; smoking weed, the use of expletives, and going to Pop concerts.

A further reason why PUPT's form is fresh is that in Jamaican music it is rare for a female to have centre stage. Though the perennial subject for a raft of songs, women are, on the whole, peripheral to the production process, being consigned to roles of homemakers, lovers, wives, mothers and consumers of the relentless output of the world famous and widely respected music industry.

The film will interest anyone with even a passing fascination with the powerful personality we know as Peter Tosh. It attempts to breathe life into his memory and contemporary relevance.



Renato Tomei “Ras Tewelde”

Shashamane, 250 km south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is here that ten talented youth try every day to pursue their dream: Music. Ace Bandaner, Tafari, Sammy, Asha Black, Sahara Benji, Rose, Rhyme Killah, True Warrior, Black Haze and Kilo D are the Youths of Shasha. The film-­‐documentary narrates their stories, giving voice to their aspirations and their visions of life.

"We don't have a recording studio, a radio station and no chance of distribution", says one of them, but the love for music and the need to express their talents give them the strength to go on and write their songs.

The background of these stories is Shashamane: a land that in 1948 His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I donated to all the Africans in the Diaspora who wanted to return back to Africa. Since then, Shashamane has become an international icon and myth, a Heartland. Over the years, many Rastafarians have 'repatriated' from all over the world: from Japan to Sweden, from the Caribbean to Germany and the Americas. It is here that all these different cultures encountered with the ancient culture of Ethiopia.

Thanks to the contribution of Donald "Flippins" Leach, Sydney Salmon and Ras Iby, the documentary analyzes the current state of the music industry in Ethiopia and attempts to propose solutions and promote the concept of 'participation'. In line with this principle, the project was carried out with the direct collaboration of the "Youths", who took part in the writing and production process of the entire film.

Moreover, 'Youths of Shasha' is part of a larger project, featuring the production and release of a musical compilation recorded by the young artists with the technical equipment provided by the association Youths of the World (YOW) and through the superb support of many international Reggae singers, such as Bob Andy, Earl "Chinna" Smith, Tony Rebel, Kiddus I, Sizzla Kalonji, Capleton and many others.

The main objective and priority of the project is to build the first school of music and the first recording studio in Shashamane, thus enabling the youth to develop and upgrade their musical and artistic talents, looking forward to a professional and promising future in music. The journey of the Youths in the minibus of Ras Tewelde, mastermind of the project, represents the metaphor of life running throughout the film: an artistic and educational journey, made of daily life and routine, enhanced by the flow of the dreams at early dawn in Shashamane and expectations for the future of ten young artists.

When the movie ends, that's where the real journey begins: destination is Dreams, final stop Everywhere.


Reincarnated (2012)
Andy Capper (Director)

Reincarnated traces the life and career of hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg, as he embarks on a journey of reincarnation of self that is equal parts career reinvention and spiritual reawakening. The close-up documentary, directed by Andy Capper, seamlessly showcases his journey and controversial transformation from hip-hop star to reggae singer while he was recording his forthcoming album, also entitled Reincarnated, executive produced by Major Lazer. The screening will, given technical opportunity, include a discussion with the producers of the film.

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