Rastafarianism in Barbados

Rastafarianism was introduced to Barbados in 1975 as an offshoot of the Rastafarian movement in Jamaica. The Rastafarian movement really began with the teachings of Marcus Garvey who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in the 1920's. He called for self reliance "at home and abroad" and advocated a "back to Africa" consciousness, awakening black pride and denouncing the British colonial indoctrination that caused blacks to feel shame for their African heritage. "Look to Africa", said Marcus Garvey in 1920, "when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand".

Many thought the prophecy was fulfilled when in 1930, Ras Tafari, was crowned emperor Haile Selassie 1 of Ethiopia and proclaimed "King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the conquering lion of the Tribe of Judah".

Haile Selassie claimed to be a direct descendant of King David, the 225th ruler in an unbroken line of Ethiopian Kings from the time of Solomon and Sheba. He and his followers took great pride in being black and wanted to regain the black heritage that was lost by loosing faith and straying from the holy ways.

Rastafarians live a peaceful life, needing little material possessions and devote much time to contemplating the scriptures. They reject the white man's world, as the new age Babylon of greed and dishonesty.

Proud and confident Rastas strut and stand up for their rights, their hair long, knotted in dreadlocks in the image of the lion of Judah. The movement spread quickly in Barbados and was hugely attractive to the local black youths, many of whom saw it as an extension of their adolescent rebellion from school and parental authority. With it came some undesirable elements, but all true Rastas signify peace and pride and righteousness.

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