Kenya: Rastafarianism, promising freedom, spreads among African youth


Dressed in a red turban and black robe, Douglas Okello bowed and gazed at the portrait of the former Ethiopian emperor pinned up in his one-room mud shack in Nairobi’s Kibera slum.

Then he prayed, and smoked a joint.

“I believe in Haile Selassie I, the Ethiopian emperor who will deliver us to the promised land,” said Okello, 28. “This is a calling from Jah, and a true Rastafari must smoke weed to cleanse his soul.”

Rastafarianism, increasingly popular in Kenya, is a faith that started in the Caribbean island of Jamaica in the 1930s after the coronation of Haile Selassie I as king of Ethiopia. Rastafarians regard Haile Selassie as the God of the black race and believe he will one day return all black people living in so-called exile — outside Africa — as the result of migration and the slave trade back to the continent.

Okello, who has been a Rastafarian for five years, said he joined the movement after he developed a liking for reggae music, which grew out of Rastafarian culture in the West Indies, while studying at the University of Nairobi. Reggae musicians singing about how black people were oppressed spoke to him, he said.

Rastafarians don’t cut their hair but grow it, uncombed, into dreadlocks. They smoke marijuana and reject materialist values in favor of a strict oneness with nature. They tend to be vegetarian and eat only unprocessed foods.

“I received a spirit that led me to start growing dreadlocks and learn how to smoke marijuana,” Okello explained. “If you are a true Rastafarian, everything changes and you start to understand the Bible. I don’t consume animals nowadays.”

The faith has grown so much among young people in Kenya, its leaders say, that they have developed social media platforms to address issues affecting the youth. Last year, the group Rastafarian Family Elders estimates, more than 1,000 people shifted from Christianity to Rastafarianism in Nairobi’s Kibera slum alone. The Elders said youths in the country have started realizing the religion favors their interests. (There are no official figures on Rastafarians in Kenya, but estimates put the global figure at 1 million.)

Anthony Maiga, a theologian and pastor for the United Methodist Church of Kenya in Nairobi, said the group traces Haile Selassie’s lineage back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and, through King David’s line as described in the New Testament book of Matthew, to Jesus.

But Maiga said the faith has seen rapid growth because many young people see themselves reflected in the language and behavior of Rastafarians.

“Youths love something that does not restrict them, like smoking and abusing drugs, listening to secular music and sharing things instead of working and paying for their own,” said Maiga. “The sect encourages such behavior and obviously they are likely to get more youths.”

Jacob Maina, 35, who also lives in the slum, confirmed that he joined the faith because he was looking for freedom. Born into a Protestant Christian family, he said the faith restricted him: He could not smoke marijuana, question oppressors or listen to his favorite reggae musician, Bob Marley.

“I was actually in prison when I was a Christian,” he said. “Christianity condemns everything that youths enjoy. The Rastafari faith allows youths to live good life. We don’t give offering on Sabbath day and we are allowed to smoke marijuana and listen to reggae music.”

But its adherents here say that many new Rastafarians are attracted by the social justice and anti-colonialist sentiments that drew Okello.

“Youths who are black have been oppressed since the days of colonization,” said Ras Malonza, a Rastafarian leader in Nairobi. “They were made slaves to whites and that’s the reason they found themselves in Jamaica.

“Jamaica is hell to us and Ethiopia is our heaven,” he added. In time, he said, “we will be repatriated to Ethiopia, which is our promised land by Haile Selassie. Black youths will no longer be oppressed and we will live in freedom and peace.”

Malonza, 43, who was once a staunch Catholic, said he regrets the years he wasted not believing in Haile Selassie. As evidence that Rastafarians are the true believers, he quotes the Old Testament book of Jeremiah: “For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.”

“We are the only religion that follows the Bible,” said Malonza. “Our God is black and the Bible confirms that.”

Anyway, local leader say, Rastafarianism doesn’t equate to freedom in Kenya’s socially conservative urban milieu. Rastafarians often face discrimination and are viewed as criminals because of their pot smoking and their appearance, especially the dreadlocks, local leaders say.

Recently, a court in Nairobi ordered officials at Olympic High School in Kibera slum to admit a Rastafarian student after she was refused due to her dreadlocks.

“It’s time for people to understand and respect our faith just as we respect other religions,” said Ras Lojuron, a member of the Rastafarian Family Elders.

Meanwhile, Okello hopes society, especially the government, stops its harassment and discrimination against Rastafarians.

“The police should treat us well,” he said. “We are a religion just like Christianity and Islam.”

Source Religion News Service

7 Things That Can Destroy The Life Of Any Young Man

By Danceville

There are many things that can destroy the life of a young man, hurt their destiny, stop their growth, slow their progress or block their advancement in life.All young men should know this things and avoid them.

1. Living Without Purpose And Vision

A friend of mine once said, “Guys of nowadays love Television buh don’t have Vision “.This is nothing buh the truth.Most guys don’t have vision, aspiration or even a plan for tomorrow.You can’t be the best in any trade if you don’t have anything you’re pursuing.

2. Alcohol And Drug

The use of alcohol and drug is another way young men ruin their lives.When a young man is exposed to drug and alcohol at a very tender age, the effects goes beyond what they ever expect in life, as they easily get inducted into the dark world of crime.

3. Wrong Association

The company a young man walks with, will ultimately determine what he will become.Choose your friends wisely.Some friends are multipliers while some are destroyers.A wise man once said “Show me your friends and I can accurately predict your future.The company you keep determines your accomplishments.

4. Crime

Wrong association and information, leads to drugs and alcohol usage.The resultant effects are crime, gang fights, cultism, armed robbery murder etc. At the end, the law catches up with those young ones and helps them waste many years in the college for stubborn and foolish prison yards.

5. Sexual Immoralities

Lust, fornication, pornography, rape, masturbation etc are all sexual immoralities and serves as a media the devil uses to destroy the life of young men.Don’t expose yourself to them, don’t company with those that are involved in it because it will end up destroying you.

6. Laziness

Hatred of work, oversleeping, indolent lifestyle is dangerous to the life of any single man.A man, I mean a real man should be bold enough to work, he must be a man of the field, planting and harvesting for his future.When a man is a lover of his bed, lazy and lukewarm, there’s no way he will not serve his mates and live in abject poverty and penury throughout is lifetime.

Last buh not the least..

7. Love Of Money

Love of money is a great destroyer of many young men nowadays.Some even results in rituals, that later end up their lives soon.Don’t think without money, you can’t reach that place you desired to be.. And always remember, Vanity Upon Vanity, All Is Vanity.


This thread is meant for everybody.The way young men is destroying their lives in this Society, is appalling.Are you guilty of any of these? Please it isn’t too late to make a CHANGE…

I drop my pen at this Juncture.

Feel free to add yours.

Please share this post among your friends..

You might just SAVE A SOUL..

Written And Compiled By

Please help me to give this thread a wider coverage.A soul might be save through this post.

The US Embassy in Ethiopia is Set to Train 600 Youths on Creating Solutions in Their Communities

Ethiopia Hacks! just launched the first in a series of 12 hackathons as part of its annual Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration. It is a programme organised by the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, in partnership with the Google Developers Group (GDG- Addis) and the Centre for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE)

The event which held at the American Centre in Addis Ababa focused on entrepreneurship. It would ensure participants will explore how technology can be used to support innovation and Job creation.

Each of these hackathons will challenge young tech developers to identify prototype solutions to challenges in Ethiopia as the program will invest in the capacity of 600 tech-savvy youth, who will be opportune to participate and generate solutions for their communities.

Thanks to the effort of current Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia, ranked as the fifth poorest country in the world Ethiopia, is high atop a mountain of several challenges needing all human and capital resources to create a more comfortable environment in Ethiopia.

Landlocked Ethiopia’s foremost challenge is drought coupled with the fact that a more significant percentage of the country’s population are farmers. This ensures citizens live in poverty with 23.5 % of the population estimated to live in poverty.

After its peace treaty with Eritrea, Ethiopia has embarked on a lifetime Journey towards rebuilding its state. U.S embassy would be supporting Ethiopia by developing an eco-system that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation and technology by investing in Ethiopians to shape the future of their country.

“…as Ethiopia embarks on the hard work of building its brighter future, there will be challenges. However, as this competition shows, challenges exist to be solved, and the challenges Ethiopia faces will be solved first and foremost by Ethiopians,” U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor noted.

The annual Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), which held between November 12-18, 2018, is designed to celebrate self-starting innovators and connect entrepreneurs to potential collaborators, mentors, and investors.

Global Entrepreneurship Week has fostered the spirit of entrepreneurship globally with millions of participants at thousands of events in nearly 170 countries.

Source – Ventures African