The Rastafari movement in South Africa: Before and after apartheid.
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Rastafari as a movement originated in the Caribbean Island of Jamaica during the 1930s. From Jamaica, it spread to other parts of the world including South Africa. It is argued in this article that the ideological foundation that formed the base upon which the movement emerged in South Africa was laid long before its formal introduction in 1997, comprising Ethiopianism1 and Garveyism.2 The ideology of Ethiopianism in South Africa gained its expression when groups of some Black Christians broke away from missionary authority during the late 18th century. Garveyism, on the other hand can be traced back to 1920, in the wake of the International Conference of Negro Peoples of the World. This article further traces the formalisation and spread of Rastafari in South Africa and argues that its development in the country took place through three phases, namely, Ethiopianism and Garveyism as the foundation period, the period of the apartheid government (i.e. between 1948 and 1994), and the post-apartheid era (after 1994). There are significant differences between the Rastafari that existed before 1994 and that of the postapartheid period. This article thus identifies these differences, explains why and how the transformation took place after 1994, and the current state of this Movement in South Africa. Their impact (“positive” and “negative”) certainly should be considered.