The connection of the Rastas to Ethiopia is a deep and mystical one. It would take hundreds of pages to illustrate the connections of this culture to Israel. In briefly describing their culture I attempt to illustrate what sparked my attention about the similarities between Jews, Falashas, and Rastas. The Rastas believe that they are originally and ancestrally Ethiopians. They were stolen from their homeland in times of slavery and brought to the `New World'.
"Rastafarianism is a politico - religious movement that developed in Jamaica in the 1930s and has since grown to become a world religion; its original prophets proclaimed the divinity of Emperor Haile Selassie (Ras Tefari) of Ethiopia and predicted the imminent repatriation of the faithful to Africa" (Manuel 254). Their were three main beliefs that the Rastafarians have; are that white people are wicked and inferior to black, Ethiopia is heaven, and Haile Selassie would arrange for the return of all African descendants (The World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 16, page 145). The Rastafarians wanted to establish their differences from the white people that had oppressed them. The Rastafarians escaped from the white people by their free spirit, their unique hair style (dred locks), and finally they would mentally escape by smoking marijuana. "The Rastafarian dred locks symbolize the individuality of one's root and struggles that one has been through" (Rastafarian Religion 3).
New Haven: Yale, 1966. Loederer, Richard A. Voodoo Fire in Haiti. New York: Literary Guild, 1935. Ogungbile, David Olugbenga. “Water symbolism in African culture and Afro-Christian churches.” Journal of Religious Thought 53.2 (1997): 21+.
“Won't you help to sing, these songs of freedom 'cause all I ever have, redemption songs” (Bob Marley, 1980) Marley was born into Jamaica’s poverty and it is where he developed a strong love of reggae and became a Rastafari. Reggae, evolved from another musical style called Ska in the late 1960’s, is considered the voice of the ‘oppressed’ peoples. Many reggae lyrics are politicalised and centre on themes of freedom and fighting for it. (Cooper, 2014) Rastafari is a theology based upon the writings of Marcus Garvey a Jamaican social activist. The movement’s global spread from Jamaica across the world has been strongly influenced by Bob Marley and closely associated with reggae.
There are over seventy different ethnic groups within Ethiopia's mountains. The dominant group were the Amharas. Selassie was an Amharic, and the government traditionally was predominantly Amharic. The people of Jamaica in 1930 were in a hopeless situation. They had been exploited from the first days of slavery on the island.
What emerged from thi... ... middle of paper ... ...-73. King, Stephen and Richard Jensen. "Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song': the rhetoric of reggae and Rastafari. "Journal of Popular Culture. 29.3 (1995): 17-37.
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