A big incentive of carrying the rasta image is that you partake in the huge dose of goodwill and REES-PECT that flows within their community. I realised that there is a proud and friendly rasta fraternity out there. I never bumped into a Rastaman who didn’t winked at me or touched my fist with his.
Each time I got the chance to chat with a ‘‘brethen’’, I quickly let on that I am quite new. One senior man was very positive. Dressed in an all African wear, he had grey beard and long locks turbaned in a huge green beret. This master rasta philosophised that I took the good decision because I was CONSCIOUS. ‘Conscious’? (Well, not a bad word).Then his warning: I should fight on and disregard the people of Babylon. (Babylon? I thought this place existed only in Biblical times). Another Rastaman at Accra New Town offered me a brand new bandana. ‘Yeah mon’, he enthused; ‘wipe your sweat.’
Rasta or Rastafarianism (for long), is a movement on its own. Although the likes of me cannot claim to understand it, it should be common knowledge that it goes beyond a hair statement. (I hope I’m right). Of course, in these matters prejudice has its dynamics. In Ghana rasta is rasta. As long as you wear the image you encounter the love, the hate and all the endless etceteras that rasta evokes. Lesson learnt. Period over.
Just on entering the Aflao station at Tudu one evening, a young man, about my age approached me. After the usual ‘irey’ greeting which I had become accustomed to, he still kept at my back. When I grew suspicious and gave him the quizzical look, he whispered, ‘‘Rastee. Charley, I get the stuff some ooh’’. How I wished he was referring to holy water.
~ Kofi Akpabli, Ghanaman and the Rastaman (in Tickling the Ghanaian)
** Join Kofi and Nana Awere Damoah for 2 book readings in Sept: 3rd (Accra) and 24th Sept. (Kumasi)
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