History of Rastafari: How did the Rastafari Movement really started?
Rastafari, popular around the world for it’s culture and lifestyle. Similarly known primarily for the fight against “downpression” and its use for “marijuana”. ”
The Movement” of “Rastafari started in 1930 upon the crowning of “His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I”. But how did it all started?
Marcus Garvey one of, if not the first person of colour, to start the back to Africa movement on a mass scale. During the early 1920’s Garvey made frequent mention of a crowning of a “Black King” in Africa.
The movement gained a lot of traction amongst the under privileged black people in Jamaica, United States and United Kingdom.
The crowning of “Rastafari” as “His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I” brought the fulfilment of Garvey’s prophecy a few years earlier. This event sparked a lot of hope throughout the black community. This was a highly spiritual event in the eyes of the black people in Jamaica.
In a time where, black people faced racial prejudice which remained prevalent across Jamaican society. “Rastafari” being crowned “King” was significant in itself as the fulfilment of the scriptures, psalms 68:31″Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God”.
The first known Rastaman
The fight for the black man’s liberation and the crowning of “Christ in his Kingly Character” came the “Rastafari” faith. Leonard P. Howell, widely known as the first “Rastaman” along Archibald Dunkley, Robert Hinds, and Joseph Hibbert. Although born in the “country” side of Jamaica, Howell left at an early age and travelled frequently going to many places and countries.
In 1932, Howell made his return to Jamaica and by 1933 started to preach of the about what he considered the symbolic portent for the African diaspora. As well as the crowning of HIM Haile Selassie and the he was the returned “Messiah to the Earth.”
Although he was arrested for the publishing of his book “The Promised Key”. He was tried for sedition, and imprisoned for two years, the Rastafari movement grew. He was perpetuating along with the sermons promoting the idea of a positive black racial identity.
The more the movement of “Rastafari” grew, the message of overcoming the white oppression, black liberation and Pan-Africanism that resonated with blacks across the world grew.
Rastafari has many mansions
“Rastafari” has many mansions. John 14:2 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you”, so the faith of “Rastafari” tied in the “Bible.” There are four main “mansions” in “Rastafari”, they are: Ethiopian Orthodox Faith, Twelve Tribes of Israel, Nyahbinghi order and Bobo Shanti. Therefore “Rastafari” is divided by different orders.
Ethiopian Orthodox Faith – The church in which “Haile Selassie I” defended. One of his titles is “Defender of the Faith“. The Ethiopian Orthodox Faith is the oldest “Christian” nation in the earth. In the book of “Acts of the Apostles” from the “bible” the first record of an Ethiopian was documented.
Therefore the Orthodox Faith goes way before all the other “christian” nations. The Emperor spoke to Abuna Yesehaq, the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.They need a church to be established and you are chosen to go. Therefore the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was established in Jamaica.
Twelve Tribes of Israel – Founded by Dr. Vernon “Prophet Gad” Carrington in 1968. Of all the “mansions” in “Rastafari” “Twelve Tribes” is considered the most liberal, members are free to worship in the “Ethiopian Orthodox Faith”. Each member associate themselves with a tribe, which is determines by the month of birth which has a colour and represent a “Body of Christ”.
The teachings are heavily based upon the “bible” with the “Scofield Study Bible, King James Version” highly recommended. Members and those who are around “Israelites” recommends reading your “Bible.” One chapter per day from genesis one to revelation twenty two. Above all, Twelve Tribes of Israel teach salvation through the Messiah Jesus Christ, whom they refer to as Yahshua Hamashiach.
Nyahbinghi Order – The oldest of the faith in “Rastafari”. Nyahbinghi keeps the link of the “Rastafari” faith and “African Heritage” close. Their main focus is on “His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie” Ethiopia and the return to Africa. In other words, Nyahbinghi is also known as the Theocratic and livity order. Nyahbinghi eat organic produce only, such as vegetables, fruits, herbs etc, and avoid the consumption of salt. Nyahbinghi is overseen by an assembly of elders and is known for the “Death of White Oppression.
Bobo Shanti – Founded by Prince Charles Edwards in Jamaica back in the 1950’s. “Bobo” which means black and “Shanti” referring to the Shanti warrior tribe in Ghana from which they believe, Jamaican slaves descended. In other words known as “Black Warriors”. The members of “Bobo Shanti” are very strict.
They cover their “locs” with “Turbans” usually found wearing long robes and can be easily identified by these. Male members are divided into two categories: the “priests” who conduct religious services and the “prophets” who take part in reasoning sessions.
His Majesty and the early Rastas
After the crowning of HIM, a number of Jamaican christians acknowledged “Selassie’s” coronation as evidence of the “Black Messiah”. And that he was who “John” was speaking about in the book of revelations chapter 5:5, the book of Daniel and in Psalms.
Above all, the message started to spread and grow. Notably by several street preachers in the name of Leonard Howell, with Joseph Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley, and Robert Hinds.
Therefore, among the poor and underprivileged, having faced depression and racial injustice. The message of the “Black Messiah” soon started to spread throughout the 1930’s. He preached that black Africans were superior to white Europeans and that Afro-Jamaicans should owe their allegiance to Haile Selassie.
I will have written this article, hoping to shine some light and clarity on the “History of Rastafari“. Giving a short summary as to how far we have been coming from. It is important, that you seek knowledge for yourself and not rely only my teachings.
Therefore, read the teachings and speeches of “Haile Selassie” as well as the “bible”. Our history stems far beyond 1930 and it is important that you find the root.