Holy Zion A Study of Ethiopianism in Rastafarianism with a Focus on the Concept Of Ethiopia as Zion

analytical Essay
4994 words
4994 words

Holy Zion A Study of Ethiopianism in Rastafarianism with a Focus on the Concept Of Ethiopia as Zion

Open your eyes and look within

Are you satisfied with the life you're living?

We know where we're going;

We know where we're from

We're leaving Babylon, we're going to our fatherland

(Marley "Exodus" 5).

In 1977, Bob Marley's lyrics reflected the ideology of Rastafarianism, defined by the New Dictionary of Religions as, "A variety of dynamic movements in Jamaica . . . since the 1930s among the poor landless men, inspired by Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa movement and the accession of Ras Tafari as emperor of Ethiopia" (Rastafarian). But the Rastafarians are much more than "poor landless men". They are an oppressed people who in the1930s found themselves in a hopeless situation. It was this hopeless situation that readied the minds and hearts of the Rastafarians to look beyond their lives in Jamaica.

They began to look to a new life and a new world by the name of Ethiopia. The concept of Ethiopia as Zion, a destined homeland for all Black people, soon took hold of the Rastafarians so much so that it became the basis for their religion, Ethiopianism.

According to one source, "It is the Rastafari movements, with its origins in Jamaica, that Ethiopianism has been most consistently elaborated for nearly seven decades" (Dread History). Ethiopianism, and specifically the belief in Ethiopia as Zion, was so accepted by the Rastafarians because it offered a sense of dignity and hope in an otherwise hopeless economic and social climate.

Jamaica 1930 was not the picture of peaceful jungles and calm sunsets that we see in travel agents’ brochures. Jamaica 1930 was a time of economic, social, and natural disaster. As L...

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Jamaicans Of Ethiopian Origin And The Rastafarian Faith.

Marley, Bob. Exodus. 1977.

---. Survival. 1979.

Mutabaruka. Check It. 1983.

---. Outcry. 1984.

---. The Ultimate Collection. 1996.

Mutabaruka Web Site.

The Rastafarian Religion.



Redington, Norman. A Sketch Of Rastafari History. St. Pachomius Orthodox Library, 1995.

Sandford, Christine. The Lion of Judah. Philadelphia: Macmillian, 1955.

Who Was Marcus Garvey?

Zach, Paul. Insight Guides: Jamaica. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the study of ethiopianism in rastafarianism with a focus on the concept of ethiopia as zion.
  • Analyzes how marcus garvey brought the ideals of ethiopianism to jamaica. he organized the united negro improvement association (unia) to enlighten people about the dignity of the black race and the superiority of ancient africa.
  • Analyzes how ras tafari, who took the name haile selassie at his coronation, was seen as the "promised messiah from the house of judah" and a signal that it was time for redemption.
  • Urges africans to unite for the benefit of their people.
  • Opines that marley is letting the people know that even though they live in a life full of oppression, if they put their faith in selassie everything will turn out alright.
  • Explains that the rastafarians were an oppressed people who in the 1930s found themselves in a hopeless situation.
  • Analyzes how garvey's motivations and actions were political, but he reached out to the jamaican people, specifically the rastafarians, with the wisdom and language of a prophet.
  • Explains that selassie's coronation was the second most important day in the correlation between ethiopianism and jamaica.
  • Analyzes how marley's song, "exodus", addresses the movement of people out of jamaica and into ethiopia.
  • Analyzes how marley reaffirms that jah will save his people and break down oppression. mutabaruka provides another good view of the rastafarian beliefs.
  • Analyzes how mutabaruka is reiterating that the day will come when the jamaicans, and all oppressed black people, will be brought into zion.
  • Analyzes how mutabaruka touches on one of garvey's most important points, black and african pride.
  • Analyzes how mutabaruka's answer to the question "whey mi belang" is that ethiopia is the light at the end of the tunnel
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