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a member of an originally Jamaican religion that regards Ras Tafari (the former emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie (1892--1975)) as God
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


a BLACK movement, dating from the 1930s in Jamaica, but influential worldwide in the 1970s and 1980s, involving the ‘deliverance’ of black people to a new, free and sacred homeland in Africa. ‘Rastafarian’ is derived from Ras Tafari, the name of Haile Selassie I (Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1975) before he assumed his official title.

Rastafarian beliefs have their origins in the teaching and philosophy of Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) who organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association in the US at the beginning of the 20th century. He believed that integration with whites in the US was impossible and the foundation of a black homeland in Africa was necessary to restore the dignity and culture of black peoples.

Garvey's teachings were influential both in the US and the West Indies. His prophecies about a glorious kingdom and the return to Africa created interest in the crowning of Ras Tafari as the Emperor of Ethiopia. Followers of Garvey in Jamaica, though not Garvey himself, made connections between the prophecy of a black king (taken to be Haile Selassie) and the day of deliverance to a promised land (Ethiopia). They believed that Selassie was a Messiah who would organize the black exodus to Africa and end the domination of Western imperial powers. As such, the Rastafarian movement is often identified by sociologists as CULT-like, involving many of the features of millennial movements (see MILLENARIANISM AND MILLENNIAL MOVEMENTS).

By the middle of the 1970s Rastafarianism had become a potent cultural force in the West Indies and the beliefs became more internationalized, especially in parts of the US, UK and Australia.


Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
It is in this context that the Twelve Tribes of Israel was founded and developed into an organization that would permanently transform the Rastafari movement through the centrality of repatriation in its doctrine and its social practices.
Rastafari in Jamaica and all over the world claimed the right to be 'earth citizens', and a core principle of the Rastafari movement was that Rastas had the right and freedom to exist.
Over the years, the Rastafari movement has been growing in popularity.
Roy Augier, the sole living author of the "Report on the Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica," discussed the Report in "You Must Be Willing to Reason Together." Augier sees as positive the impact that the Report had on improving the status of the Rastafari in Jamaica and characterizes Premier Norman Manley and Principal Arthur Lewis as pragmatists who were sympathetic to the Rastafari.
It was about culture and the rhythm and roots of the rastafari movement. Kim was the first outsider to photograph Marley and the young Jamaican masters around him, wildly creative artists who had previously seen a camera only as the wicked tool of tourists.
The singer, of course, is also closely associated with the Ethiopian Rastafari movement which embraces the spiritual use of cannabis and rejects a society based on materialism, oppression, and sensual pleasures, called Babylon.
In Rastafari in Transition, Ikael Tafari, a leader of the Nyabinghi House of Barbados, examines the Rastafari movement's engagement of "the politics of cultural confrontation in Africa and the Caribbean (1966-1988)" and provides, among other things, a more detailed critique of the NJM-led Grenadian process.
MUSICIAN WAS A DRE EADLOCKED LEGEND BOB MARLEY remains the most widely known and revered reggae performer and is credited with helping spread Jamaican music and Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience.
First, it examines how the Ethiopian successes in the struggle against colonialism served as a model in the African world, including the Rastafari movement in Jamaica which referred to modern Ethiopia as the "black man's citadel." Next, it stressed how Ethiopia embraced "Afro-modernity" as an ideology that stressed the true adaptation of European brand of development to the African reality; a value that does not dismiss African successes as mere exceptions and other caricatures like the reference of Africa as a 'dark continent." Further, the book explores phases in the development of Ethiopian Socialism--"Afro-Marxism as well as its domestic version (Hebrettesbawinnet) and its stress on the principles of self reliance, equality, dignity of labor and the supremacy of the common man.
As the once outcast Rastafari movement increasingly becomes mainstream, the rise of another radical, ultra-nationalist Ethiopianist movement is ruffling feathers in the rarefied world of Egyptology and Western academia.