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Rastafari

In this regard, therefore, this research paper seeks to shed some light regarding this group of individuals. Introduction Who are the ‘Rastafari’? Are they some dreadlocked ‘ganja’ smokers to be feared and labelled as criminals? Or are they individuals who sing and dance to the reggae tunes? Based on a letter written to the editor and which featured in Caribbean newspapers in 1982, the author claimed that the ultimate ambition for the ‘Dread’, as they were popularly referred to, is to rip a man’s heart out and feed on his genitals. In Hollywood movies such as ‘Marked for Death’ and television programs, which includes ‘60 minutes’ Rastafarians have been depicted as combative dreadlocked gangsters characterized by red eyes from the smoke of Marijuana. Essentially, an image that one can get from popular opinion is that Rastas are dirty, low-life and drug dealers. They were dreaded in some places, for instance Dominica that they could be shot at first sight. Some of messages conveyed in their music clearly portray the loath that the society they lived in exhibited against them. For example, Bob Marley, the accredited father of reggae music, sings out that ‘he shot the sheriff for self-defense.’ Similarly, in his hit song ‘Redemption song’, he expresses his agitation in the manner that the prophets of Haile Selassie are murdered by the bullet of the gun. Nonetheless, an encounter and research on these individuals gives a totally different picture about them as discussed in the subsequent sections. Rastafarian first came into being in the 1930 in Jamaica and it’s perceived to represent some spiritual ideology. However, a significant proportion of its adherents argue that it is more of “a way of life” rather than a religion. The adherents hold Haile Selassie I, an emperor of Ethiopia who reigned between 1930 and 1974, as God the Father while others as Jesus. Those who subscribe to the teachings of Emperor Haile Selassie are referred to as Rastafari or simply Rastas. As such, Rastafarianism thus describes their way of life although some Rastas consider it as derogatory. This could be explained by their dislike and bias against “isms”, which is generally a part of typical Babylonian culture. The name Rastafari is believed to have been formed by a combination of two words, Ras and Tafari. Ras is s title given to a “head” or rather “leader”. This according to the translation of ras from Amharic, a local dialect group based in Ethiopia. On the other hand, Tafari is the first name of Tafari Makonnen, who is the famously known as Haile Sellasie I. The adoption of the new name followed his coronation. However, there is some discrepancy from Murell who argues out that Ras means Christ; while Rastafari refers to Haile Selassie, the founder of the movement (Murrell 4). Rastafarians claim that Haile Selassie is their Christ who died physically, but lives in their souls. The believers argue that Christ shall come back to save them from the world, and he shall take them to Ethiopia. The followers argue that Ethiopia is the land that Christ promised them, and they refer to it as Mount Zion. Doctrines Hardly will one interact with a Rastafarian without getting to hear the mention of the term “Jah”, which, as is mostly the case, a precursor to the utterance of Rastafari. Generally, ...Show more

Summary

Idalia Bogaert Magic, Science and Religion October 20, 2013 RASTAFARI Abstract Rastafarian movement, also referred to as Rastafarianism, is a spiritual ideology that traces its roots in Africa though it’s much pronounced in Jamaica. It began in the 1930s and ever since has spread across the globe…
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