Are Rastas Really Abnormal? – By Fo Fovi

“For lack of Knowledge, my people perish”  – Hosea 4:6

I have always written this piece in my mind but the recent outburst by one Mr. Okyere Darko, the Administrator of Valley View University has made it come alive finally. Evidently, Mr. Darko lives in the valley and sees nothing beyond the horizon. His outlook is limited and that has influenced his thought processes and certainly he appears to me like a fool because he seems to be leaning upon his own understanding.

What moral justification has this man and anyone who thinks like him to declare that “Rastas are abnormal” and by implication, anyone wearing dreadlocks or those who have divine conception of their hearts?

I have observed and been thinking about how Churches and by representation, Christians look down on other groups of people who do not share in their faith or does not pray like them. Even in the churches, there are the “born-agains’ who gossip about the not so born-agains and hardly mingle with anyone below their perceived status. I thought Christians and literates should know better by looking through people rather than just looking at their appearances.

Rastas like any religious sect are a group of people who believe in Haile Sellassie I, the Emperor of Ethiopia (1930-74) as God incarnate or better still Jesus Christ incarnate. These black empowered movements are a group of separatists and the rest believing in mutual cooperation just like any other sect. They believe in The Kebra written by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Sellassie and the Bible.

The movement, made up of three distinct orders known as the Nyabinghi order happens to be the most radical of all, the second known as Bobo Ashanti whose members also believe they were descendants of the slaves taken away from the Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana, Africa and lastly, the twelve tribes of Israel which happens to be the most liberal of the movement whose members are free to worship in any church of their choice.

 Rastas accept many of the Old Testament injunctions such as the forbiddance of cutting one’s hair and eating of pork and shellfish as can be found in the books of Numbers 6:1-7, Lev. 21:5 and Deuteronomy 14:8 respectively so we can at least tell that,  parts of their doctrines are rooted in the Bible.

Rastas per observation are a group of cool-headed people who mostly live their lives in isolation because of society’s stereotypical stance against them. They have been discriminated against on all facets of life thus wearing dreadlocks or affiliating yourself with the group has become criminal in itself.

People are quick to label you ‘irresponsible’, ‘wee-smoker’, ‘a good-for-nothing’ and many other unprintable names if you have affinity for the faith or the dreadlocks wearing people. Apart from the spiritual aspect of the movement, methinks, the only difference between the sane person and the Rasta man is the dreadlocks which I like to refer to as a make-up because that individual can just shave that locks off and become sane. And since when did the fine line between the sane and the insane become dreadlocks or better still the hair?

Rasta or dreadlocks wearing is not just an issue of leaving your hair to grow, it is a spiritual journey of the mind and the soul, in the quest to improve upon your levity, where you don’t get to subject yourself to razors, sharp edges and all kinds of machines or to avoid the use of all kinds of hair creams whose origination we don’t know. Some also wear the dreadlocks as pride to portray their ethnic identities or simply as a hairstyle so as to take a less purist way of developing and grooming.

Society has castigated these people all these years for unjust reasons and out of ignorance, just because they are not like them. They deny them all kinds of opportunities and priviledges and treat them like outcasts. Rastas eschew dreadlocks either as a means of avoiding persecution or for practical reasons such as not becoming liabilities in many industrial jobs and white collar jobs.

There is a Fundamental human right clause embedded in the constitution of Ghana and that of most countries that ensures freedom of association and freedom of worship of all its citizenry, so it beats my mind why institutions in the country especially educational ones would deny some groups of people because of their faith and mode of worship.

Has the said Mr. Darko seen Jesus or God before? How would he know that barbering is the right way to go? Has he read anywhere in the Bible that his model being Christ, has ever been to groom his hair at the barbering saloon before? How can he tell which is the right way to go let alone declare that some group of people are abnormal because of their mode of worship? I am disappointed in him because he could have just kept quiet and making us doubt him rather than exhibiting his folly. Has he labeled gays and lesbians abnormal yet?

Maybe they smoke, but everyone smokes. We see these so-called big men in movies and on TV smoking whatever they deem good for their system so I don’t see the reason why this minority group are treated this way to the extent that they no more have the right to education. Yes! They smoke the weed but for spiritual purposes as depicted in the following verses in the same BIBLE you believe and would kill for.

 Gen 1:11 >>> And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

Gen 1:29 >>>And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

Gen 3:18 >>> Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

Ps 104:14 >>> He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

Rev 22:2 >>> In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Rev 5:5 >>> And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Has it also occurred to you that no Human Rights advocate or groups have not condemned the utterance of this man? Yes, that is how they are. They will do everything to uphold evil and repress good, so let it not come to you as a shock because more is yet to come.

We all cannot be the same because we are not clones and people like Mr. Darko Okyere should realize that there is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it ill behooves any of us to talk about the other let alone rule them out on the basis of their appearance. what we need is tolerance and maturity to accept and respect choices of others and not this self-righteousness attitude.

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