The Rastafarian Movement in South Africa: A Religion or Way of Life?

  • MH Chawane
Keywords: Rastafarianism, Zionism, Judaism, Christianity, Liberation theology, Babylon.


Rastafarians object to the classification of their movement as a religion. Their objection is based on the belief that the movement is more of a way of life than a religion. This is in spite of the fact that the movement is grounded on religious principles which makes non-Rastafarians to view it as a religion. In order to understand the nature of the movement, it is important to define the concept religion in general and as understood by Rastafarians themselves. By looking at some religious movements, and how the Rastafarian movement is both similar and different to them, this paper argues that it is its religious character that makes the movement sustainable. Thus, this article looks at the principles underlying other religious movements such as Judaism, Christianity, African Traditional Religion, Black/African, and Liberation Theologies against those of the Rastafarian movement.

Keywords: Rastafarianism; Zionism; Judaism; Christianity; Liberation theology; Babylon.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1011-7601