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The Rastafari Community Must Change Course

By Mosiyah Tafari | April 14, 2019

Members of the Rastafari community in Western Cape, South Africa. (Photo by James Knaap)

D

espite the slogan "organize and centralize," which has been repeated in our communities for many years, the harsh reality is that we as Rastafarians have done very little to effectively implement the intended meaning of this mantra. While development of spiritual practice has seem to become the sole focus of the movement, our quality of life and our prospects for economic advancement in the real world have been all but forgotten.

Mere Talk is the Instrument of the Lazy

We are a disorganized people. We are a decentralized people. And for this reason, we hold no political power and no lasting economic influence. We can neither create laws, nor have the legal authority to enforce those laws given unto us by our Creator. Thus, our children cannot look to us for leadership nor depend upon us for sustenance. As they mature and grow within this system, they face the onslaught of economic oppression, political exploitation and intellectual manipulation, about which the Rastafari nation collectively has been unprepared to do much of anything at all. Except talk. But His Majesty has warned us that "mere talk is the instrument of the lazy and will not take us anywhere." 1

Faced with this reality, we must change course. We must correct our path. We must do something to alter our reality and bring about the type of situation, in the here and now - not in the hereafter - that will allow our people and our posterity to prosper and flourish, living up to our fullest potential. Our primary goal must be to alter our reality, by taking our collective destiny into our own hands. And through true cooperation - among Bobo Shanti, Twelve Tribes, Nyabinghi and any other Mansion, or among those who are unaffiliated with any Mansion whatsoever - through this type of nondenominational cooperation, we can transform the Rastafarian people into an organized and centralized nation.

The Broader Scope of the Movement

Let us work together in a secular way publicly, while still maintaining our fundamentally unique personal identities. This is the only way to advance our cause. Let all who call upon the name of Rastafari, henceforth unite. The broader scope of the movement is far more significant than personal theology. Because if we allow ourselves to get caught up in theological debate amongst Rastafarians, we are disobeying the commandment of His Imperial Majesty.

"We can attain practical results in the endeavors of progress we're making only if there is absolute unity among ourselves." 2 — Haile Selassie I

His Majesty told us, "Religion is personal, the state is for all." 3 Let us remember, also, the teaching of His Majesty about His desire for mankind, when He said: "Knowing that material and spiritual progress are essential to man, we must ceaselessly work for the equal attainment of both." 4 The lopsided approach of the Rastafari community has for too long been a stumbling block to progress. We should therefore, in the example of His Majesty, have a more balanced outlook on the relationship between spiritual and material realms.

Working Together for Common Goals

We can achieve this by taking control of our community and our economy. We can achieve this by working together for the aims and objectives that we all share in common. We cannot achieve this through pointless theological speculation. We can't achieve it through debating one another on the comment section of various Facebook posts. Our common thread is a belief in the divine nature of His Imperial Majesty. Our common thread is our shared culture and identity as Rastafari.

So for all who call ourselves Rastafari, let us make an effort to work towards progress. Let us move forward, together, on a new course that will allow us to shape our collective destiny towards prosperity and independence. Let us unite, as Rastafarians first, handling theological differences within our own Mansions and remembering the clear instructions of His Majesty:

"Let us work together, arm in arm as brothers, that our progeny may live in peace and well-being, that posterity will honor our names and our achievements. This will suffice. This will be our victory. May Almighty God grant it to us."5 — Haile Selassie I

Footnotes

1Selassie I, Haile. Selected Speeches (p.471). Lion of Judah Society Press.

2Selassie I, Haile. Selected Speeches (p. 462). Lion of Judah Society Press.

3Selassie I, Haile. Selected Speeches (p. 625). Lion of Judah Society Press.

4Selassie I, Haile. Selected Speeches (p. 663). Lion of Judah Society Press.

5Selassie I, Haile. Selected Speeches (p. 230). Lion of Judah Society Press.

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About Us

About Us

The Rastafari Coalition is a nondenominational organization whose main goal is to bring the various Mansions of Rastafari together in unity. To accomplish this, we seek to provide a platform through which all members of the Rastafari community can put their theological differences aside and work together to achieve the aims and objectives we share in common.