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

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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.
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