The Rastafari in Ethiopia: Challenges and Paradoxes of Belonging

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The Rastafari in Ethiopia: Challenges and Paradoxes of Belonging

Type: Research master thesis
Title: The Rastafari in Ethiopia: Challenges and Paradoxes of Belonging
Author: Beyecha, Mahlet Ayele
Issue Date: 2018-11-30
Keywords: Rastafari Movement
Rastafari in Ethiopia
Pan-African movement
Ethiopian World Federation in Ethiopia
Challenges of Rastafari in Ethiopia
Shared Challenges
Catch 22 of Rastafari
Guideline 21/2009
Paradoxes of Rastafari in Ethiopia
Narratives on Method
Abstract: Abstract Inspired by personal experience, this research analyzes the challenges and paradoxes of belonging of the Rastafari returnees in Ethiopia. With a biblically and historically buildt identity, the Rastafari have formed a strong identity and view Ethiopia as Zion. However, the whistle that signaled repatriation is the 500 acres land grant given by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I to the black peoples of the world, mainly those in the west, as a token of gratitude for reaching out to Ethiopia and its people during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The Rastafari people returned to Ethiopia, the Promised Land, fulfilling their “homecoming.” The research examines the multi-dynamic facets of the Rastafari community’s confrontations on their journey of striving to make a home and feel at home, thereby unravelling the consistent conditions that facilitated the contradicting relationship of the community with Ethiopia and Ethiopians. In order to do so, the research identifies the challenges and investigates how these are manifested and how the paradoxes of the community are demonstrated. Capitalizing on the opportunity of meeting the global Rastafari, the research curiously inquires whether the challenges faced by the community in Ethiopia are shared by Rastafari elsewhere. Furthermore, the study cross-examines the applicability of the directive issued by the Ethiopian government. In the absence of full integration, the research investigates whether the community in Ethiopia is leveraging on its international connections. To respond to these questions, the study makes use of Horst Moller’s theories on identity of (MacLeod, 2014), Nyamonjah’s belongingness (2006), the homeland-diaspora relationship examined by Wingrod and Levi (2006), and the zones of transit identified by Akinyoade and Gewald (2015). The research was conducted through an ethnographic approach in the Rastafari community in Ethiopia, with the researcher being a quasi-member of that community. Open interviews and participant observation are what the researcher immersed herself into in order to collect data. The personal experience and some specific quotes of the informants are compartmentalized to form the themes of the subjects included. This research-at-home also brings the personal experience to the text with the intention of enriching and deepening the experience of the reader. Unexpected events gave way to methods of unintended findings that perfectly and coherently suited the thesis, as it provides information on whether the experience of the Rastas in Ethiopia is shared by other Rastafari in Africa and globally. These events further helped to bring a fresh knowledge by thoroughly assessing the practicality of the directive concerning the Rastafari, which was issued by the Ethiopian government. The apparent persistence of the trans-nationality of the Rastafari cannot go unchecked. Therefore, the researcher shares the data collected in this regard. I conclude that the post-repatriation era of the Rastafari in Ethiopia is crammed with consistent tribulations, ironies, and paradoxes perpetuated by the state, by local Ethiopians and by the returnees themselves. However, this research equally concludes that, despite the challenges the Rastafari face in their daily lives, they are determined to stay ‘home.’
Supervisor: de Bruijn, Mirjam
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: African Studies (Reseach master)
ECTS Credits: 25

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application/pdf The Rastafari in Ethiopia- Challenges and Paradoxes of Belonging.pdf 7.111Mb View/Open
application/pdf Appendix 1- Declaration of All Africa Rastafari Gathering.pdf 87.41Kb View/Open
application/pdf Appendix 2- EWF & Ethiopian Mirror- Land grant.pdf 624.0Kb View/Open
application/pdf Appendix 3- Ghana immigration of Act 2000- 573.pdf 70.62Kb View/Open
application/pdf Appendix 4- Guideline for Rastafari in Ethiopia- 21-2009.pdf 488.1Kb View/Open
application/pdf Appendix 5- Proclamation for Foreign nationals of Ethiopian-Negarit Gazeta- 270-2002.pdf 1.118Mb View/Open
application/pdf Appendix 6-Proclamation on Ethiopian Nationality.pdf 554.9Kb View/Open

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