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The Rastafari in Ethiopia: Challenges and Paradoxes of Belonging

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On the 2nd of November 1930, Ras Tafari Mekonnen was crowned as Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. For African people, this meant freedom, justice, sovereignty and redemption. Since then, the Rastafari have formed a strong identity, biblically and historically built, and view Ethiopia as Zion, the Pormised Land.

However, the whistle that signaled repatriation is the 500 acres of land donated by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I. Located in Shashmene, this land was given to black people of the world, as a token of gratitutde for reaching out to Ethiopia and its people during the second Italo-Ethiopian war from 1935 to 1941.

This film is based on Mahlet Ayele Beyecha’s research on the Rastafari community in Ethiopia, as part of her Research Masters in African Studies at Leiden University, Netherlands.

The research examines the dynamics of the Rastafari community on their journey to make a home, unraveling the conditions that facilitated the contradicting relationships of the community with Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

Connect Africa youtube channel is developed in the interest of closing a gap between Africans in the diaspora and Africans at home. The videos in the channel feature research based videos and interviews conducted by the host and founder of the channel, Mahlet Ayele Beyecha- Research MA, African Studies and MA in Middle Eastern Studies. The channel is created in the view of the need to create a common platform for dialogue and understanding of the dynamic of social, cultural and political issues in Africa by Africans origin and people of other race.

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