“We Stand for Black Livity!”: Trodding the Path of Rastafari in Ghana

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Abstract

Rastafari is a Pan-African socio-spiritual movement and way of life that was created by indigent Black people in the grip of British colonialism in 1930s Jamaica. Although Rastafari is often studied as a Jamaican phenomenon, I center the ways the movement has articulated itself in the Ghanaian polity. Ghana has become the epicenter of the movement on the continent through its representatives’ leadership in the Rastafari Continental Council. Based on fourteen years of ethnography with Rastafari in Ghana and with special emphasis on an interview with one Ghanaian Rastafari woman, this paper analyzes some of the reasons Ghanaians choose to “trod the path” of Rastafari and the long-term consequences of their choices. While some scholars use the term “conversion” to refer to the ways people become Rastafari, I choose to use “trodding the path” to center the ways Rastafari theorize their own understanding of becoming. In the context of this essay, trodding the path of Rastafari denotes the orientations and world-sensorial life ways that Rastafari provides for communal and self-making practices. I argue that Ghanaians trod the path of Rastafari to affirm their African identity and participate in Pan-African anti-colonial politics despite adverse social consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number374
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalReligions
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Ghana
  • Jamaica
  • Livity
  • Pan-African
  • Rastafari
  • Trodding the path

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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