Rastafari movement is an Africa-centred religion that developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, following the coronation of Haile Selassie I as King of Ethiopia in 1930. Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie is God, and that he will return to Africa members of the black community who are living in exile as the result of colonisation and the slave trade.
There is little scholarly research and non-academic evidence about the beliefs of Rastafari followers in Zimbabwe.
RelZim.org asked Julius Masimba Musodza, an UK-based Zimbabwean screenwriter and author, who is considered to be a pioneer in African rastafarian literature, whether rastafari movement is present in Zimbabwe.
“There is evidence of groups within the African Independent Churches who proclaimed the divinity of the then newly crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia in the 1930s. Thus, Zimbabwe can claim a Rastafarian presence dating from the beginning of the religion. In 1999, when a study was conducted by Brittany Smith, a visiting American, there were an estimated 10,000 Rastafarians in Zimbabwe. This figure has shrunk with the mass emigration of Zimbabweans seeking greener pastures. However, Rastafarian communities are to be found in all the major urban centres, mostly belonging to the Nyahbinghi Order and the Twelve Tribes of Israel sects.”
If anybody heard of this research and knows the details please email [email protected]
Selamte lehullu (Greetings to all)
There is a study conducted by one Brittany Smith in 1999. I have a digital file somewhere. It has been a private project of mine to increase the volume of research on the Rastafarian communities of Zimbabwe, and I would like to thank you for drawing attention to this. Amesganallehu
Masimba, please keep RelZim.org in the loop on this topic.
Later Masimba commented on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Religion-in-Zimbabwe/160143294046068
“Religious groups outside a certain category have been subject to vilification and slander (accusations of “Satanism”). I don’t know if it is still there, but there was a passage in a Primary School textbook warning children on the evils of Rastafarianism. The head of religious programming at the time is on record as having stated that he would not have the Catholics on the gospel program because he did not think they were Christians. A friend who was at ZBC at the time told me that he had been shown a list of religious groups that could not be interviewed without prior consultation.
To date, most Zimbabweans think that a Rastafarian is someone who is not keen on grooming, a career etc and speaks with silly fake Jamaican accent and has sex with older white tourists for money. People think we sing reggae songs at religious services, take drugs and indulge in unspeakable acts of dissolution. Of course, the first Christians were subject to similar slander but in this century, you’d expect people to be more open.”