Repatriation: Africa in the Horizon

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Repatriation: Africa in the Horizon

The idea of the repatriation of Blacks to Africa is a theme that runs deeply within Rastafarian beliefs. Although the concept of Ethiopia being the true and glorious home of all Blacks is imbedded in Rastafarian beliefs, the idea dates much farther back in history. Dating back to the African slave trade beginning in the eighteenth century, Ethiopianism has influenced the Black race dramatically. People such as Marcus Garvey have raised the world’s awareness of the oppression of the Black race and his solution of repatriation. Garvey believed that if Blacks could have a land of their own, where they could prosper and gain power then the world would have to respect this nation and it’s people. (Barrett, 1997, P.68-69)

Contrary to the original idea of actual movement to Africa, recently a new idea has surfaced about repatriation. This idea is that repatriation should begin with internal liberation and a connection with Africa. Therefore, instead of a literal movement to Africa it is a mental connection to Africa. (Barrett, 1997, P.172) Repatriation is a complex idea that is understood in several different ways. The underlying principle of repatriation is that Blacks have faith and hope in overcoming centuries of oppression by reconnecting to their roots and a time of prosperity. Repatriation is not only a religious belief for Rastafarians but it also has served as a worldwide theme of Black Nationalism and unification.

Not all Africans that were taken from Africa and sold in "The New World" were from Ethiopia, but that is the designated destination of the repatriation movements. The most obvious reason for this is because it was in Ethiopia that Haile Selassie ruled. This would explain why Rastafarians would desire to repatriate to Ethiopia. The following quote explains the Rastafarian connection to Ethiopia.

Ithiopia represents a tangible reality within the transitory flesh; spirit more powerful than flesh, the reality of the indestructible Irit, the umbilical chord of creation rooted in the core of the personality, the illusive link with Jah and the breaking asunder of the psychosociological bonds of mental slavery which have pauperised and plagued West Indian psyche for 400 years in the Diaspora.


Another reason why Ethiopia is the destination for repatriation is that historically it is revered as the home of one of the most advanced civilizations. Historians believe that Ethiopians and Egyptians were the same people and that they were members of the Black race.
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