VERIFIABLE research (when conducted properly)reveals you to the truth and allows you to actually stand for what you truly should be poised at, by an in depth knowledge on whatever you decided to find out more on, just as the Rastafarian populace will willingly in ultimate conviction create an awareness on their known fact that the herb, ganja, weed, wee, cannabis or marijuana allows one to discover his true inner form and will according to Jah‘s will. Bob Marley, particularly the most revered songwriter of the Rasta man emphasized this in varying degrees.
“When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself“, he said.
I was originally a devout member of the much rather large sect who used to call the Rasta man, a member of Rastafarianism. Nonetheless, my rather fair/unfair inspection (depending on how this affects one’s subjectivity on the topic) has made me conscious of the deep dislike of the term “Rastafarianism“. Rastafarians actually recognize “isms” as a circumstantial part of Babylonian culture. Babylon from their perspective is yet something more than a 626-534 BC era Empire. It is noticed as the highly established power structure of modernity encapsulated in materialism, sensual desires and even oppression. Its opposition is no other than Zion (thus Heaven on Earth, origin of humanity and place of perfection). Every real Rastafarian aims at moving according to the standards of Zion. However, Zion is traced to present day Ethiopia.
Before moving on to Ghana‘s relationship with Ras Tafari, it is essentially required to make everyone cognizant of some important facts of the religion, since it is within an element of fact to outdoor the unrecognized connection between the once called Gold Coast (of few rastafarians compared to Christians and Muslims) and the rasta religion.
Facts on Ras Tafari
The religion originated in Jamaica by 1930. Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr (1887-1940) is considered the founder despite the immeasurable reverence to Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia who ruled from 1930 to 1974. Jah which comes from Jahweh/Jehovah is denoted to God. The emperor is remembered as Jah Rastafari. Thus, Haile Selassie is strongly viewed as the incarnation/second coming of Christ. “The Anointed One” to lead the people of Jah out of Babylon into Zion. He is distinguished as the fourth incarnation of God (thus, from Moses, Elijah to Jesus and finally His Imperial Majesty ‘HIM’).
Speaking on the religion’s population, Wikipedia can be quoted in its brief generic conceptualization on Rastafarian demographics. “By 1997 there were, according to one estimate, around 1 million rastafari worldwide. In the 2011 Jamaican census, 29,026 individuals identified themselves as rastafari. Other sources estimated that in the 2000s they formed ‘about 5% of the population of Jamaica, or conjectured that ‘there are perhaps as many as 100,000 rastafari in Jamaica.”
From my view on demographics, there are close to 2 million Rastafarians or even more worldwide considering the way indoctrination takes place in our world. Children are not given the benefit of knowing facts on all religions so as to make a choice later when inevitable adulthood emerges (an ideology of fairness within which Daniel C. Dennett carefully outlines, explains and supports in his book, Breaking The Spell). They are rather impulsively socialized into the religion of their parents. Very few indoctrinated children, now adults are able to break free from what they were groomed to be, into other philosophical sects. Richard Dawkins raises consciousness on this in his book, The God Delusion.
“Children are described as ‘Catholic children’ or ‘Protestant children’ etc. from an early age, and certainly far too early for them to have made up their own minds on what they think about religion.”
Back to the facts on the religion discussed, Rastafarians are great lovers of nature. This immensely holds their lifestyle. They approach even the hardest means possible not to interfere with the natural growth of hair, usually producing a highly recognizable trait, the dreadlocks. However, having the dreadlocks or not having it does not guarantee one being Rastafarian. Morgan Heritage (Reggae band) in one of their best songs ever stated this fact, “You don’t haffi dread to be rasta. This is not a dreadlocks thing, but divine conception of the heart.”
Nutrition gets rid of chemical additives, others avoid tobacco, meat(usually pork), alcohol, and seafood.
Rastafarians revere some portions of the Christian and Hebrew Bible. However, the Piby is highly considered as Rastafarian scripture. It was written in 1913 by the founder of the Afrocentric religion, Robert Athyl Rogers and is definitely an edited Bible to suit the standards of that religion. In itself contains the standards, the “dos” and “do nots” of the Rasta man. The 10 commandments is generally acceptable.
Music is known to be more than entertainment. Rastafari is not exceptional. Reggae music is its medium to foster peace, preach its ideologies as well as incite entertainment. When you kill Reggae music, you kill a great philosophy. “Nobody can stop Reggae, because Reggae is good” said Lucky Dube.
Symbol & Colors
The lion of Judah with a crown on its head in addition to the standard of Ethiopia is the known symbol of Ras Tafari. Red, gold/yellow and green are the colors. At times, there is an addition of a green leaf (signifying cannabis) to the focal point with a yellow background. This is where Ghana comes into perspective. After my long arduous analysis on the philosophy, people and places of Ras Tafari, extensively aiming at finding the closest relationship the religion might have with other African states aside Ethiopia, I realized that a whole new insight could be procured by analogizing colors involved.
I came to the conclusion that Ghana was supposed to be just a step ahead of Rastafarian religion. After all, symbols and colors on flags collectively forms an identity that pre-informs one of the values held by the flag bearer. That step ahead was being the HOPE of Africa. Readers by now, may be wondering what reality could be found in this stated assertion. Others might carry the tools of prejudice in querying by asserting that my statements may be backed by extreme patriotism and selfishness for my country (since I’m Ghanaian). As that may be true, there is however an analysis, where if analyzed by the spectacles free from the claws of prejudice, authenticate the results of comparison.
Rastafarian philosophy was originated by 1930, at least 26 years before Ghana officially gained its supposed “independence“. I say supposed because, the last time I checked the dictionary for the word, it had a negative correlation with the reality of most African states, Ghana included. Foreigners still pull the strings of the African puppet. Neocolonialism to me is even worse than what we had before because the sphere of colonial mastery has broadened. For instance, it used to be Great Britain and just that, now its USA, China, Germany, Lebanon, and any other country with the privilege of having power that could be of help to our deplorable state. The colors of Ras Tafari was based on that of Ethiopia. This was before the recently demised patriot, Mrs. Theodosia Salome Okoh (1922-2015) designed the flag of Ghana. The colors of Ras Tafari are exclusively featured in many African State flags. Countries like Senegal, Mali, Sao Tomé & Principe, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, Benin, Congo, Mozambique and Ethiopia. Within this set, only 3 countries added 5 pointed Black star(s) corroborated by the original colors (red, yellow and green). The countries are Sao Tomé & Principe, Ghana and Guinea-Bissau. As the number reduced, I decided to find out if there was still a difference among the 3 uniquely selected.
Red meant bloodshed found along the path of extricating colonialism, yellow signified the Sun, green simply but on a generic basis signified hope while the black star depicted African unity.
Sao Tomé & Principe
The red isosceles triangle proclaimed the hard fought struggle for independence, green not shockingly acclaimed the nation’s rich vegatation, yellow found its meaning in representing the main agricultural product of the country, cocoa. The two black stars were to signify the two main islands of the state.
Red signified those Ghanaians who fought in the independence struggle, yellow depicting the mineral wealth of the nation, green for its agricultural wealth, and finally the black star at the flags focal point as the HOPE of Africa. Thus, flag peculiarity specifically favored Africa with hope. There is also no suggestion against the idea that Ethiopian flag in a way or the other influenced Ghanaian and Rastafarian flag color suggestion. As history notes, Ghana was the first African country to feature those colors after Ethiopia. Now, the only difference was the black star of hope. Questions arose at this point.
Could it be Mrs. Okoh placed that star for Africa for a specific purpose? Was she influenced by the nature of Africa at the time to draw such conclusions? Did she believe in an African Unity with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana’s 1st president who gave her the privilege of being a part of Ghana’s strong historic foundation) as the leading spear. Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is undoubtedly a strong pillar when Pan Africanism becomes a topic of discussion. He simply can’t be ignored. The concept of African Unity is featured in most flags of the continent. It is what the less strong individual nations depend on for a much stronger foundation for everyone in the continent.
“By far the greatest wrong which the departing colonialists inflicted on us, and which we now continue to inflict on ourselves in our present state of disunity, was to leave us divided into economically unviable states which bear no possibility of real development…” [Excerpt from Dr. Nkumah’s speech delivered at the OAU Summit Conference on 19-07-64 at Cairo]
Is Ghana really a hopeful nation for Africa’s Redemption?
There should be no shock if this question is notified. That should be answered by the audience of this site, perhaps views may vary. I personally doubt Ghana being the hope of Africa now. This is from the opinion of being real. Probably, the founding fathers of our supposed “independent nation” had the best part of African altruism, they unquestionably had the dream to carry Africa across turbulent seas of poverty and retrogression. Dr. Nkrumah’s Pan African ideology and actions (£10 million offer to Guinea after her break from France can be exemplified) is testimony to that. That’s not so nowadays. I am not suggesting that Nkrumah’s successors should grant aids in careless abundance. After all, Ghana in itself is in need of the greatest of aids. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are the best to give such details.
All I am heading towards is the fact that there is a shift from altruistic African men to selfish hardworking corrupt fallacious citizens. Selfish interests for most of the time fuelled by the varying manifestations of incompetent leaders to follow the pioneer of African unity. Ghana gradually defaced that star on the flag. It is at the tip of totally erasing that unique shape if efforts don’t change, Ghana will then be equated to Mali, Guinea, Benin and Congo. I don’t mean that in a bad way to belittling another country. Just stating a physical illustration.
His excellency should no longer be an attributive title to most African Heads of States, for there is no evidence of excellence in most administrative jurisdictions. All we see (thus if you are not blind to reality) is the opposite of excellence, poor performance, failure and gross imperfection.
Maybe Other Nations Should Adopt the BLACK Star of AFRICAN Hope
Bostwana, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Namibia are a part of the few African states with actions that portray hope for L’Afrique. Bostwana for instance has shown evidence through actions of being stable politically, relatively corruption-free and is the world’s largest producer of the diamond. It gives Africa the hope of having a nation with signs of a generic hope for development. Egypt, with just its Pyramids of Giza, does not only ensure the hope for the benefits of African tourism but also gives the historic privilege of owning embodiments of initial civilization. There are definitely more nations of hope.
Once upon a time, once called Gold Coast had the golden privilege of being the cement to African Unity. We no longer own a special seat because of our actions and inactions. Its never too late to make a change though. At least Ghana’s young generation and posterity might change the memo of mediocrity and hopefully work towards being Ghana’s hope at being able to stand as the hope of Africa. Its never too late. Altruism is the answer. I end with a quote from Marcus Garvey. He said,
“God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.”
With this, there is no excuse to aiming at the best whether you are an evolutionist or strongly religious. Whether you believe in the power of natural selection or the creation of the world with just words from the lips of a supernatural being. God for the theists and nature for the atheists and agnostics. A change is certainly possible, no matter the nature of roots.
Thanks for making time to Read this piece.
Achaab Daniel Abalansa
Facebook: Achaab_dan GH