The story of 13-year-old Rastafarian girl Makeda Ndinda, who was kicked out of school for having rejected shaving her dreadlocks (which goes against Rastafarian culture), after being admitted into form 1 at Olympic High School, creates more questions than answers on African culture and the yoke that colonialists put on Africans.
The understanding of religion and culture drags us back to the biblical allegories of the 18th century—and the conflicting philosophical understandings of religion that was dominated by whites who came as missionaries and imposed on Africans a life of imprisonment of mind, behaviour, and cultural dogmas.
The Rastafarian culture has survived many years as the only undiluted ancient culture founded by Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey, who reportedly told his followers to “Look to Africa where a black king shall be crowned, he shall be the redeemer.”
On November 2, 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie 1 of Egypt, fulfilling the prophecy of a black king that was spoken by Garvey. The Ras Tafari movement blossomed and became a global belief, despite facing opposition from governments and other religions who misunderstood their use of marijuana in performing their spiritual beliefs. However, they were peacekeepers whose mantra advocated for equality, peace, respect to all mankind, and an end to slavery.
Ras Tafari was faulted several times by the whites for their strong, unwavering advocacy to respect life. After the abolishment of slavery, the black race suffered racial discrimination and were badly treated until legends such as Lucky Dube and Bob Marley came onto the scene with their genre of music to explain to the world that Ras Tafari was a peaceful movement, and a culture that values life and promoted the Rastafarian movement.
The Rasta lifestyle has led some followers being brutalised, discriminated against, and even killed. However, the believer still holds that Ganja smoking of marijuana helps to enlighten their mind so that they can correctly reason the ways of the world. This is done with respect, followed by prayer and meditation. Rasta doesn’t allow taking marijuana for fun but only for serious prayer. Conversely, other religions throw tantrums over this issue which to me is wrong and disrespectful.
By Brian Terer
Email address: [email protected]