Monday, November 13, 2017

Bob Marley, Reggae and the Ethiopian connection

I am a big fans of reggae music especially Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

They were both followers of Rastafarianism.  Both a religious movement and social movement, it developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. Practitioners are known as Rastafari, Rastafarians, or Rastas.

Many Rastas call for the resettlement of the African diaspora in either Ethiopia or Africa more widely, referring to this continent as the Promised Land of "Zion.”  Western society is considered to be the oppressive "Babylon".

The smoking of cannabis is regarded as a sacrament with beneficial properties. Rastas place emphasis on what they regard as living 'naturally', adhering to ital (take the v off of vital) diets, allowing their hair to form into dreadlocks, and following patriarchal gender roles.

It was influenced by the Back-to-Africa movement promoted by black nationalist figures like Marcus Garvey.

Rastafarianism is an Abrahamic religion. Rastafari believe in a single God—referred to as Jah—who partially resides within each individual.

Meanwhile, Haile Selassie I ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974.  Many Rastas regard him as an incarnation of Jah on Earth and as the Second Coming of Christ. Others regard him as a human prophet who fully recognized the inner divinity within every individual. During his life, Selassie described himself as a devout Christian.

The 1974 overthrow of Haile Selassie by the military Derg and his death in 1975 resulted in a crisis of faith for many Rastas.  Enthusiasm for Rastafari declined in the 1980s, following the deaths of Haile Selassie and Bob Marley.

But the music is still great.

Watch this short video telling the story of reggae and Rastas.

More from the Ethiopian Passport Adventure

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