Africa has not developed by leaps and bounds because soon after playing an instrumental role in the attainment of Independence in colonized Africa the Rastafarians have been surreptitiously left out in the governance of the continent.
No one can blink the fact that the rastafari movement played a pivotal role in the attainment of Independence not only through their conscious music but also through a concatenation of other activities that eventually compelled the “stiff naked fools” to grant Africa its political Independence!
Long before the likes of the great Nkrumah, Sankara, Lumumba, Boigny et al kicked up resistance against imperialism, the Rastafari movement led by its torch bearer Honorable Messiah Marcus Garvey was already possessed by a burning desire to not only liberate Africa but in fact move bag and baggage from America to Africa!
This wasn’t merely a pipe dream since elaborate and deliberate steps had already been put in place by Garvey to convey Blacks through the Black Star Liner back to Africa!
Garvey’s main preoccupation was to foist in the blackman the conviction that Blacks were never inferior to the imperialist in any form and to open their eyes to the imperialist subjugation and exploitation of Africa! By dint of hardwork and determination Marcus was able to organize a membership of well over 6000000 people to see eye to eye with his ideals!
Marcus Garvey failed in his bid, however, to achieve his ideals owing to evil machinations contrived by Uncle Sam against him coupled with the activities of negro moles, saboteurs and agents provocateurs of the devil who were rented to do him in! Nonetheless, Garvey’s sublime ideas had already acquired for him disciples who would take up the fight for Black liberation, to Africa!
Then came a breed of radical, no – nonsense, truth – touting, Ganja – wielding and extremely enlightened Rastafarians who were willing to die for the freedom of Africa! This crop of Rastafarians were willing to go through any form of victimization and molestation in defence of the truth and the African personality. Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Burning Spear, Joseph Hills and a host of others readily come to mind.
Permit me to state without any scintilla of doubt in my mind that the treasure trove of ideas that emanated from these Rasta Militants reverberated across the world and caused a rethink in both the colonizers and the colonized which eventually crystallized into Independence. These Rastafarians laid bare in their renditions the sickening atrocities, grave injustices and extortionate exploitation of Africa’s resources by the imperialist. In deed , they sang truth to power exposing the puerile tricks and contrivances employed by the Whites to wangle out our resources. These they did at their own peril – and of course purse!
Any wonder why most of them were assassinated or blackmailed? Recently an FBI agent confessed on his deathbed how he impersonated as a journalist just to get Bob Marley to wear Nike boots that were laced with a cancer agent – the legend eventually died of Cancer!
Let me reiterate that the emancipation and liberation of Africa was so dear to the hearts of these Rastafarians so much so that they never charged for any of their performances in Africa because they saw it as an opportunity to edify the peoples of the continent.
At this stage of the political struggle, in the late 50s and early 60s, the Rastafarians were known to take inspiration from smoking the “holy herb”(Marijuana) yet the prior-to-independence era politicians had no issue with Rastafari since they (RASTAFARI)were an integral part of the political struggle! In fact, no stigma was attached to marijuana users prior to Independence
Marijuana use became an issue just right after Independence when the new political elite felt that for them to be able to concentrate power in their hands and abuse it, there was the urgent need to stigmatize marijuana use in order to get rid of Rastafarians in the governance process – knowing perfectly well that Rasta would never countenance “them belly full greed”!
To be continued….
By Anuga Fortunate