Re: Rastafarism

Date: 7/16/97
Time: 11:17:10 PM
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Rastafari is the name of God.  It is also the name of the deceased emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie.

Rastafari as a religious movement began in the 1930s in Jamaica.  It comes from two distinct movements, Ethiopianism and Garveyism.

Ethiopianism, as a movement, began in the 1870s as a result of the attempted invasion of Ethiopia by the Italians.  At the time, the entire continent of Africa was under colonial rule by the European powers.  Only Ethiopia remained.  Ethiopia came to symbolize African redemption.

Garveyism, as a movement, began in the 1920s as a result of the prophet Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association, which adopted the slogan, "Africa for the Africans, those at home and those abroad, in an attempt to free Africa from colonial rule.

Garvey often said, "Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God" (Psalm 68:31).  The corronation of Haile Selassie as emperor of Ethipia in the 1930s was taken literally as a fulfillment of Garvey's prophecy.

Thus, Rastafarianism describes a movement that reveres Haile Selassie as God incarnate, something which Marcus Garvey found difficult to understand.  For more information, see


Carl Olsen