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... The Hairs of Your Head Are All Numbered: Symbolisms of Hair and Dreadlocks in the Boboshanti Order of Rastafari.


Hairstyles can make the human hair a symbol (1) that "speaks" or expresses or becomes certain human and social ideas. The symbolised hair, significant to general conceptual interpretations of the body and symbolism, expresses socio-cultural differentiations, divisions and changes, political orientations and specific individual identities. Studying hairstyles can reveal human conformity or deviation from societal norms and elucidate the link between the physical and social bodies within the contexts of identity and ideology. A fairly extensive literature on the symbolism of hair styling exists; therefore, it is hardly necessary to urge upon scholars the symbolic and ritual importance of human head hair. However, in this paper, I examine the symbolism of hair in an Afrocentric social movement known as the Boboshanti Order, also called Ethiopian African Black International Congress (EABIC) or Salvation Church, which L. Olivier identified "as a rapidly growing and exclusive group, who practise strict Old Testament Mosaic Rituals and Laws" within Rastafari. (2) Rastafari started in Jamaica as an anticolonial Afrocentric spiritual and philosophical movement among the island's underprivileged people of African descent in the 1930s. It has, however, spread globally.

I am not a Bobo--Boboshantis are also known as Bobos or Bobodreads--but I have matted and kinked my scalp hair into rope-like tresses commonly known as dreadlocks, a term which has roots in Rastafari, for eleven years because of my political affiliation with Rastafari. Thus, my personal insights, readings of secondary literature, and information from reggae and dancehall music by Boboshanti artistes shaped this paper about the symbolism of the dreadlocks in the Boboshanti Rastafari group. Much of my research happened in Ghana where there is a growing population of Rastas. (3) Few studies exist on Rastafari in Ghana in general, but none has specifically focused on the Boboshanti hair ideology, symbolism and practices. (4) Bobos in Ghana, comprising Ghanaians and repatriated Jamaicans and other African diasporans, either live communally, for example, in Tafo in the Eastern Region, or privately elsewhere. Thus, I obtained some information for this paper through interactions with some Bobos and members of other known Rastafari "Mansions" (5) (branches) such as the Twelve Tribes of Israel (TTI), Ethiopia World Federation (EWF) and Nyahbinghi Order. I also had conversations with several Rastas at two major Rastafari Council of Ghana conferences held in Accra in 2017 and 2018.

Rastafari, birthed by the long tradition of Black resistance to oppression in the African Diaspora because of the historical uprooting of Blacks from Africa by the Atlantic Slave Trade which was initiated by Europe from the 15th to the 19th centuries, has attracted several studies. They mainly examine Rastafari history, ideology, general rituals and dietary laws, organisational structure, biographies, (6) schism, art and music, internationalisation, linguistic culture, politics, mysticism and gender relations and issues. (7) Others provide overviews of literature on Rastafari. (8) However, the topic of Rastafari hair culture has featured as part of broader discussions about Rastafari. Unlike other Rasta groups, such as TTI and EWF, the Boboshanti, arguably the most conservative wing of Rastafari, unbendingly rule that scalp and facial hairs should not be cut, but kept in dreadlocks. Moreover, scalp hair should be covered. The symbolism of dreadlocks among the Boboshanti, a group that Martin A.M. Gansinger deems "reclusive... [and], organised around strict communal services," (9) whose teachings emphasises "Black supremacy" (10) and royalty of Black skin, hair and culture (11), requires a probing of its own. This paper therefore unearths the inner logic of the conservatism of this hair orthodoxy and symbolism among Bobos.

My examination of dreadlocks as a sacred, mysterious and heavily symbolised motif of Rastafari philosophy, politics, mystery, spirituality and beauty within the context of the Boboshanti group elucidates the significance of symbols and symbolism of the human body and hair in particular. It mines understandings about Afrocentric politics of anti-colonialism embedded in Boboshanti ideology, Black/African nationalism and self-determination symbolised by dreadlocks of the Black body. Through an interpretation--symbology--of the dreadlocks, it offers a discourse about the evolution of some aspects of the history and psychological conditions and aspirations of Rastafari and structuring of radical notions of Black/African identity.

Symbols, Symbolism and the Communicating Human Body

Symbolic forms have been in the history of the political, social, artistic and religious expressions of humans. (12) Natural and human made objects and even abstract forms, such as numbers and gravity, have symbolic significance. Thus, the whole universe, as Ernst Cassirer puts it, is also
... a symbolic universe. Language, myth, art, and religion... weave the
symbolic... tangled web of human experience. All human progress in
thought and experience refines upon and strengthens this net. No longer
can man confront reality... as it were, face to face. Physical reality
seems to recede in proportion as man's symbolic activity advances. (13)

The human being brings this symbolisation into existence through thought and perception that create or reify objects of forms into symbols. Humans infuse and characterise them with importance and meaning in the spheres of politics, psychology, emotions, spirituality, education, visual art, religion, medicine, commerce and economics. Thus, symbolisation, which is part of human knowledge in their relation to meaning in both secular existence and religion, promotes beliefs and different behaviours. (14)

Symbols can appresent and/or represent an idea. As G. Sebald puts it, "A symbolic appresentation (appresensation) is a relation between at least two finite provinces of meaning, whereas the appresenting symbol is part of the reality of everyday life." (15) Thus, "one element of a pair refers to another not directly given in experience." (16) A symbol, being given, may "bring back" something, such as an idea or myth that is absent. Accordingly, "symbolic meanings attached to particular vehicles of meaning... are thus memories of experiences outside the everyday sphere... brought back from other states to the normal everyday state." (17) Thus, "[t]hrough symbols, developed within groups, something given within everyday reality appresents a reality belonging to a [sic] entirely different province of meaning, an ultimate transcendence (e.g., the stone where Jacob dreamed of a ladder to heaven memorializes God, accessible within the religious province of meaning)." (18) This is what objects like the cross and crescent, commonly regarded as religious symbols, do. A scarf or kippur can be reified to symbolise humility before the divine; additionally, of the correct configuration a candle or image of a stream can become symbolic of religious notions such as divine inner peace and personal strength of the sacred life. So is the hair. Hairstyles can either be a secular fashion statement or symbolise and articulate important spiritual and religious notions and principles. For example, members of some Hindu and Buddhist sacerdotal orders shave to generate baldness to symbolise renunciation of materialism. Sikha or Shikha (the tuft of hair) on the shaved head of members of the Hari Krishna movement also symbolises one pointed mindedness on transcendentalism and devotion to a deity and wearer's aspiration to tap into spiritual bliss and enlightenment instead of the illusion of materialism. Conversely, the uncut hair, combed or matted, has religious and spiritual connotations. For example, Guru Gobind Singh approved Kesha, that is, untrimmed beards and unshorn hair on the body and scalp, (19) to symbolise the wearer's membership in the Khalsa (Sikh community). The Sikh's combed and knotted scalp hair (joota), kept under a dastaar or patka (Sikh turbans) as a cultural distinguisher, communicates the "I am a Sikh" message and represents the wearer's acceptance of a simple life, harmonious living with nature and decisive allegiance to God for spiritual maturation.

On the other hand, hairstyles of secular fashion statements about the innermost social and political ideas about the wearers include unshorn hair motivated by trichophilia, and shaved hair inspired by sexual urges of some females to project a homoerotic ultra-masculine image. Additionally, the Afro hair or "the natural" became popular among many Blacks in the African Diaspora in 1950s and 1960s during the Civil Rights and Black Power movement eras as a "Black is Beautiful" symbol. "Both Malcolm X (who once had a Conk--a process of hair straightening)... and Angela Davis... described the immense psychological importance of this change of style." (20)

Touching on the psychological power of symbols in Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors, Frances Cress Welsing (MD) observes that being "highly abstracted, condensed and coded messages developed by the activity of the brain computer of the human organism," (21) symbols "reflect... the total body's internal environmental response to the external environment." (22) Usually related to people's deepest cultural themes, they convey or represent key ontological, existential and self preservation issues about the people and their culture. Significantly, Carl Jung, the psychoanalyst, has revealed that broader unconscious aspects of a symbol are never precise because a symbol which may be a "term, a name, or even a picture... may be familiar in daily life;" however, it possesses specific connotations: vague, unknown or hidden (23) and can evoke group or universal responses (24) in terms of how it is thought about, treated and interpreted. "A wheel may lead out thoughts toward the concept of a 'divine' sun, but... man is unable to define a 'divine' being. When... we call something 'divine' it [is] a name... based... never on factual evidence. (25) However, Welsing argues that whether immediately translated or fully understood or not symbols, once formed, move the unconscious and conscious like a "stirring rod" to send out responses in the form of thought, speech, action and emotions. (26) Therefore, sociologically, the symbolisation of hair in different societies naturally elicits multivalent human responses and actions. Jung, nevertheless, observes in Psyche and Symbol, that when a symbol emerges within the archetypal ground of the psyche, it can make sense if it has something which is shared by a considerable number of people, and embraces emotional and non-emotional elements whose omnipresence is obvious and common or made common to a larger group. (27) This is true of the omnipresent dreadlocks motif of the Bobos, which commonly symbolises the thoughts of the Boboshanti Order at both the conscious and unconscious levels because it emerges from the complex and subtle strata of the group's historical and/or contemporary psychological atmospheres.

Human Hair as a Communicating Symbol

Hair's importance as an ancient and contemporary symbol of identity cannot be underestimated. (28) As Anthony Synnott demonstrates in "Shame and Glory: A Sociology of Hair" in North America and Britain,
hair is... [a] powerful symbol of individual and group identity...
because it is physical and personal, and... also public rather than
private... [H]air symbolism is usually voluntary... than... 'given'.
[It] is malleable... and apt[ly] symbolize[s] both differentiations
between, and changes in, individual and group identities. (29)

From Synnott's work and earlier ones by Charles Berg (1951), Edmund Leach (1958), Christopher Hallpike (1969), Mary Douglas (1973) and Andrew Strathern (1989) that connect hair to symbols we get some understanding about how the symbolism of hair has been understood in different societies in "initiation, marriage and mourning rituals, and in magic." (30) We are also exposed to how hair has been used to explain sexual castration, (31) sexual activeness, sexual restraint and celibacy, (32) social control and freedom, (33) and manliness and sexual maturity (34) in diverse social contexts, and how in different professional circumstances "[s]haggy hair, as a form of protest against resented forms of social control, is, [for example], a current symbol in our own day." (35)

On a broader level, Synnott aptly observes that:
[E]xceptional states and status are symbolically expressed in...
hair... [T]he Hippies hair,... the Punks',... the Afro,... hairy or
smooth... legs,... tightly curled and long... dreads,... shaggy...
beard,... hairy... chest, and... clean... shave... can indicate the...
degree of commitment to various ideologies and self-concepts...
[T]herefore... [t]here is no one-to-one correlation of particular
phenomena with particular meanings, nor of meanings with phenomena...
because of the complexity of society and societies:... shame in one
culture is glory in another, [and] the rapidity of social change last
year's glory is this year's shame. (36)

What is obvious, however, is that hairs, both natural and artificially transplanted, on the body are or may be symbolic, because cultural, gender and ideological values and meanings (37) are imputed to them by different societies and groups. Noteworthy, "[h]air [symbolism] is also fashion [driven]," (38) and therefore the faddish meanings are not fixed but fluid because "styles change in opposition and contrast to earlier styles". (39) Nevertheless, the symbolism remains very important at any given time that the fashion style exists. Thus, despite the fact that values and meanings attached to hair may change as time goes on, they are, however, significant at any given time. Moreover, some values and meanings may be common to all, but others may be unique to specific communities. For example, hair can be cut to symbolise mourning in some societies such as the Akan of Ghana, but among the same Akan growing of the hair forms part of mourning, symbolising great protest against death. (40) Elsewhere, growing the hair is rather done as an indispensable part of ethnic initiation rites of boys into adulthood. For instance, in "making boys grow" (41) into adulthood the Keitamb initiation of the Mbowamb of Mount Hagen, Western Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea, makes boys grow their hair and wear a headnet and wig. The hair marks "a growth to adulthood and the enclosure of his grown hair is both a sign of such growth and a means of preserving his [spiritual] strength and [life force provided by the spirits] for the future" (42) because the Mbowamb consider the head as the seat of min (soul) and the hair as a hub of power that ties the individual to spirits. (43) Accordingly, a ritual specialist may make a sacrifice and pull hard on a patient's hair "to make new life flow through it." (44) Conversely, Richard Slobodin's study of traditional hairstyles among the Kutchin, a First Nation or an Indigenous People of North America, reveals "that hair-cutting--chopping...--at puberty was a social control mechanism," (45) an observation which resonates with Hallpike's "cutting the hair equals social control" theory. (46)

Touching on hair symbols in Africa, Roy Sieber and Frank Herreman observed in Hair in African Art and Culture that "[T]he way one wears one's hair may also reflect one's status, gender, ethnic origin, leadership role, personal taste, or place in the cycle of life. Infants and toddlers of both sexes may have their head shaved except for tufts of hair left to protect the fontanel." (47) For example, an Akan woman may shave on the sacred day of a deity to symbolise respect, or as an offering. (48) Additionally, as an identification mark, mpesempese (long matted "locked" hair) is also associated with Akan priests and royal executioners. (49) Noteworthy, the way hair on the head is covered can also be symbolic. Writing on headgears, C.Z. Quist showed that headgears are worn in some places not only for aesthetic reasons and making of microclimates for the head, but to symbolically disclose status and personality, social sect or religious background. (50)

In sum, the "[h]air... phenomenon... is... a symbol of... self and of group identity, and... self-expression and communication." (51) So is the "locked" hair, also known as locs, dreads, locks and dreadlocks in English, jatta in Sanskrit, ndiagne in Wolof, mpesempese in Akan, and dada in Yoruba. It is the Afrocentric connection between the locked hair and Rastafari that we now proceed to examine.

Articulation of the Jatta, Ndiagne, Mpesempese, Locks, Dreads and Dreadlocks: The "Locked" Hair Speaks

The locked hairstyle has been used by individuals and groups within and across different historical and contemporary socio-cultural spatial and temporal contexts to convey symbolic messages. For example, some mendicant Hindu ascetics (sadhus) and sages (munis) and their apprentices wear it as jatta. It symbolically portrays them as persons touched by the divine and depicts the mendicant as a being who straddles both transcendental and terrestrial zones of consciousness and "supports Agni (fire), and moisture, heaven, and earth:... [who] is all sky... [who]... is... light... [who]... go[es] where the Gods have gone... [and] flies through... the air. (52) Jatta, often worn in a coil (jatta mukta) on the crown, is also widespread among devotees of the jatta-wearing Siva, who is part of trimurti (three forms of Supreme Divinity) in Hinduism. It symbolises a covenant between a devotee and Siva and denial of secular life. It is also a symbolic imitation of the appearance of Siva who, according to Hindu cosmology, supernaturally produces the Ganges from his tresses. (53) Additionally, most male disciples (talibes) (54) of the Baye Fall (Faal) movement wear the ndiagne, the matted hairstyle. Baye Fall is a specific branch of the Mouride tariqa (Islamic brotherhood) (55) which was started by Sheikh (56) Amadu (Ahmadou) Bamba in Senegal in the 1880s to Africanise and indigenise Islam (57) with African spiritual concepts and practices and Sufism and Wolof (a Senegalese ethnic group) nationalism. They wear ndiagne to symbolise their religious orientation and imitate Sheikh Ibra Fall (Faal), Bamba's chief disciple who pivotally consolidated the Baye Fall group. (58)

Tradition has it that Sheikh Bamba once spat into Fall's palm (this act is ceremonially emulated by disciples and sheikhs in Mouridism). Fall smeared the spittle on his scalp hair to extract his teacher's spiritual Baraka (59) from it. Thenceforth, he did not cut his hair and it grew into ndiagne. Ndiagne, thus, symbolises a mystical union between the wearer and God, through an unflinching dedication of the wearer to a teacher--sheikh. It symbolises a vow of devotion of a murid (novice or disciple) to a sheikh; it is a murid's natural badge of servitude and disinterest in vanity. Moreover, it symbolically projects a unique identifiable African Muslim image formed by African cultural pride within the global Ummah (Islamic community). This is because as found in Hair in African Art and Culture, styling the hair into nappy rope-like strands is indigenous to different African ethnies, and represents different socio-cultural notions including the idea that some kinked scalp hairs are repositories of supernatural power. (60) Among the Akan, for example, mpesempese can indicate the religious authority of messengers of spirits such as priests, priestesses, mediums and diviners. This is also true of the Ewe and Ga in Ghana. Moreover, the hair is a symbol for the "children of deities," who are believed to have been given to their parents by deities, often water deities. Born with fully kinked hair, their hair, like the biblical Samson, is never cut, because it contains spiritual and psychic energies. Their hair is a symbol of their "special" origin. It distinguishes them from other "mortals". Indigenously, such hair possesses great social and spiritual importance which attracts great pride into the wearers in their localities. The Akan call them nsuo ba (lit. water [deity's] child) or bosom ba (lit. deity's child). However, in Ghana, for example, many Christian converts today shun such hair as a mark of primitive idolatry and fetishism. Some people eschew mpesempese because they correlate it with filthiness and lunacy because some helpless vagrant lunatics involuntarily have unclean matted hairs that appear like mpesempese. Nevertheless, other people uphold and respect mpesempese because of their understanding of its original social status. Thus, some wear the locked hair--dreadlocks--for fashionable purposes, albeit with a sense of an African cultural pride and awareness. Despite the faddish aspect, the dreadlocks hairstyle has been a noticeable expression of cultural self-determination for many people of African descent. For example, Masai and Morani young men maintain locks to denote their warrior status. Ethiopia's Bahatowie priests have also worn their hair in long matted tresses to depict their hermitic status since circa 5th century. (61)

Outside ethnic traditions and customs, dreadlocks or "locks" like the "permed" hair have currently gained prevalence as a popular culture vogue for different groups and individuals globally, thus, appearing as an item of multiculturalism in the 21st century. However, among people of African descent, especially, many prefer locks over chemical straightened hair in a conscious pursuit of Afrocentricity; non-conformity to artificiality; cultural resistance to Western hegemony and notions of grooming and beauty; and a proud self representation which connects them to Africa and its classical civilisations such as Khmet (Pharaonic Egypt) where locks were identified with royalty. (62) Worth mentioning, the dreadlocks hairstyle also has a very strong connection, roots and affinity to Rastafari and the Boboshanti.

Origins, Continuity and Change of Rastafari and its Connection to Dreadlocks

"Rastaman live up! Bongoman don't give up!... Keep your culture. Don't be afraid of the vulture! Grow your dreadlock; don't be afraid of the wolf pack! Rastaman live up!"

~~ Bob Marley. (63)

Rastafari is commonly identified with dreadlocks. Many reggae artists and lovers of reggae, a music which is generally associated with Rastafari, wear dreadlocks to identify with an aspect of Rastafari culture globally. Rastafari emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s from Jamaican Ethiopianism, an Afro-Atlantic literary-religious philosophical tradition that articulated ideas, historical facts and biblical notions such as Genesis 2:10-13, (64) Psalms 68:31, (65) Amos 9:7 (66) and Acts 8:26-39 (67) to link Africa and peoples of African descent historically to a great ancient classical era. (68) Ethiopianism challenged Eurocentric lies about Africa and proudly celebrated Ethiopia's long history and defeat of Italy's imperial forces in the Battle of Adwa in the last decade of the 19th century. Ethiopianism believed in the African capacity for self-rule and promised a swift renaissance of the supremacy of peoples of African descent in Jamaica and globally.

One strong Jamaican Ethiopianist was Marcus Garvey. He advocated for repatriation and established the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which prescribed ways for an African Renaissance. (69) In Rastafari circles, Garvey purportedly prophesised in Jamaica before leaving for the US in 1916 that the suffering Black people of Jamaica should look to Africa for the crowning of a Black King for he shall be their Redeemer. (70) Few years after this prophecy, Ras Tafari, acclaimed descendant of the biblical King Solomon of the ancient House of Judah, was crowned the "Black King" of Ethiopia on 2 November 1930 and became known as His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I; (71) his regal titles included King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Light of the World, King of Zion, and Elect of God.

This event and its powerful legendary and biblical dimensions around one of the oldest monarchies in the world stimulated the imaginations of many Jamaicans and retuned their attention to Ethiopia and Africa in general. The biblical exegesis and historical analysis of some Jamaicans convinced them that prophecy had been fulfilled; they announced the Black monarch as a divine saviour and started identifying themselves as "King of Kings people," and "Rastafarites" (72) to imply a shift of allegiance to an African monarch and rejection of King George V. (73) This birthed a new manifestation of Ethiopianism--Rastafari. Noteworthy, Rastafari has continued to reject all English monarchs, especially Elizabeth I and II who have been labelled as "whores", (73)and all colonial and neo-colonial regimes suppressing Africans globally.

The early evangelists such as Leonard Percival Howell, Joseph Nataniel Hibbert and Archibald Dunkley (74) apotheosised Haile Selassie I as the Living God-King Jah (75) Rastafari, and preached that he will gather and send Africans from diasporic lands of captivity (Babylon) to their own land, Ethiopia (Africa) again. Thus, many suffering Jamaican masses saw this growing movement bearing the name of an African ruler as a social transformation organisation, a course to hope and disengagement from an exploitative colonial (Babylon) system.

Howell, alias "the Gong", who has been called the "first Rasta", (76) established the first Rasta commune--a forest and hill-based community called Pinnacle--with hundreds of followers. There the rudiments of Rastafari ideologies and practices started to develop in the 1940s. These included notions such as Blacks in the West (Babylon) were reincarnated Israelites; Whites were inferior to Blacks; Jamaica was hell, but Ethiopia (Africa) was Zion (Heaven); Pan Africanism, repatriation to Africa and social justice were necessary; Rastas were ordained to overcome Babylon; and Blacks were destined to govern the world in righteousness, peace and love. Numerous biblical passages were invoked to support the Rasta lifeway. For example, Psalm 87:3-4 sustained Haile Selassie's divinity and Africa as God's royal abode. (77) Noteworthy, it was at Pinnacle that Rastas started the cultivation of ganja (marijuana) for spiritual rites, healing and income to support the marooned community. (78) The common custom of wearing beards and locks developed among many adherents who consciously chose naturalism as an ideological path and shunned the artificial restrictions of city life and its Western benchmarks of hair management. Furthermore, others proudly wore the beard and locks in an effort to acquire a fierce African warrior appearance. Some of such fierce-looking "mountain lions" like "Ethiopian Warriors" guarded Pinnacle. (79) Petrified or disgusted by the matted hair of these "wild men", the conservative section of Jamaican society disparagingly referred to their hairstyle as "dreadlocks", (80) a term which despite its original uncomplimentary implication was eventually reclaimed by Rastas because Jah, as Daniel 9:4 shows biblically, is a "great and dreadful God." (81)

Eventually, the Jamaican government charged Howell with sedition. The police invaded and disbanded Pinnacle in 1954. Howell suffered arrest and was ultimately incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital in 1960. (82) The constant persecution of Rastas by the state for nonconformism and "subversive" teachings forcefully dispersed them and their teachings throughout Jamaica. Some charismatic ones set up different militant Afrocentric cells and reformatory ones; these promoted a schism that yielded different interpretations of the movement. Many reggae musicians, including Oswald Williams (Count Ossie) and Bob Marley, embraced Rasta teachings of African self-determination and millenarian promise of holistic emancipation from the "evil forces" of imperialism, colonialism and capitalism. Reggae largely gave Rastafari an international reach, especially in the 1970s. The movement's message and groups, including the Boboshanti, have continued to expand through space and time.

The Boboshanti and Dreadlocks

Prince "Dada" Charles Emmanuel Edwards established the Boboshanti Order after Pinnacle was disbanded. (83) By 1959 Edwards had organised the Boboshanti group under a method of community living modelled after Howell's commune system. Their commune was disbanded by the police and members were charged with offences including ganja use in 1968. Edwards and his followers resettled in Bull Bay, east of Kingston, Jamaica. This "City on a Hill" became Boboshanti headquarters, main commune and spiritual centre. (84)

With international branches today, the Boboshanti Order advocates for "Equality and Justice for all" and freedom of Africa and Blacks globally; (85) monetary reparation to Blacks from their enslavers; repatriation to Africa through the Garveyite philosophy of "Europe for Europeans and Asia for Asiatics,... Africa for Africans at home and abroad"; (86) an Ethiopian Royal Nation under a Melchizedek Righteous King and Ethiopian National and International Government based on Human Rights; (87) communal living; respect for African moral laws; Black economic self-sufficiency (hence its customary venture of making and selling straw hats and brooms, and farming to support the community); fundamentalist use of the Old Testament; "strict schedule of commune-oriented practices such as the honoring of the Sabbath or regular fasting--which clearly sets it apart from more moderate and less regulative Rastafarian branches like the Twelve Tribes of Israel"; (88) abstinence from cutting their flesh and hair, since they consider themselves Nazarites; (89) and the tradition of women wearing long gown-like African dresses and skirts to cover their form "... arms and legs... in reverence to Empress Menen Asfaw, the wife of Haile Selassie I." (90)

Bobos adhere to a strict dietary regulation involving veganism and avoidance of alcohol; however, ganja use for holy sacrament, meditation and medication is permitted. Biblical passages like Genesis 1:29 and 2:16, Psalm 104:14, Proverbs 15:17, Ezekiel 47:12 and Revelation 22:1-2 are offered to justify the goodness in using herbs, including ganja. Bobos acknowledge Prince Edwards, alias King Emmanuel I, as the priestly Black Christ and High Priest in the Melchizedek Order, tracing this view to Revelation 5 and Hebrews 7:1; Haile Selassie I is God-King; and Marcus Garvey is a prophet, the reincarnated biblical John the Baptist. The three form a Holy Trinity, a view which distinguishes Bobos from other Rastas, (91) who may see it as controversial (92) if not a heresy. Currently, the Order has become musically influential and perceptibly intercontinental through its militant reggae and dancehall music artistes, especially the Jamaican ones such as Sizzla, Capleton, and Anthony B, who, as Gansinger notes, have been called "Reggae Mullahs or Jamaican Taliban"93 by some non-Bobo artistes because of their traditionalist militancy. They sternly articulate and spread Boboshanti conservatism related to issues such as Edwards's divinity, Black (African) supremacy, homosexuality, gender relations and hairstyle through their music.

Bobos strictly wear dreadlocks and maintain them under tightly wrapped turbans, with women permitted to occasionally wear veils, for cleanliness, protection from ordinary eyes, and symbolic separation from the profane. (94) The locked hair, untrimmed beard and turban are symbolic. According to Gansinger, other Rastas such as "the Twelve Tribes would typically--but not necessarily--choose dreadlocks as a hairstyle"; adherents of the Nyahbinghi grow dreadlocks but are not obliged to put them under turbans. However, it is obligatory for Bobos to grow the locks and "on top of it strictly follow the convention of covering the crown............ to conceal their dreadlocks from the unbelievers, as the Honorable Priest Henry has put it." (95) Furthermore, "[t]he Bobo Shanti [sic] turban is... a significant distinguishing symbol [of] superior[ity] to worldly powers" as explained in Sizzla's song One Away (96) that:
Yuh see the Prime Minister know what a galong
A dem sell out di yutes to the Queen a England
Di whole a dem haffi bow when dem see mi turban
(..) Dem sight mi turban, conspiracers a talk
Emmanuel, so watch out because him a guh wrath. (97)

Sizzla's lyrics aver that despite the conspiracy of the imperial political system of England, represented by the Prime Minister and Queen, to mislead and oppress Black youths, the conspirators will have to "bow" (surrender) before the power of the Bobo turban when they see it or incur the divine wrath of Prince Emmanuel Edwards. Noteworthy, other groups of Rastafari, as underscored,
... give less importance to hairstyle and headgear, but would cover
their hair for ceremonial purposes. However... [according to] Priest
Henry... the turban as a symbol for a royal crown goes back to the
shared Israelite traditions of Jesus Christ and other prophets
supported by the power of truth and rights on their rightful journey.

Significantly, the Bobo turban insignia therefore points
to the self conception of being righteous and just inheritors of
prophetic traditions... [T]he Honorable Priest Henry... explained that
the tightly wrapped turban--whose adjustment is... meditation
itself--signifies the intention to remain tight and firm in regard to
worldly matters and material temptations... [T]he turban represents a
privilege... linked to certain requirements, due to the specific
meaning attached to it. (98)

after studying the doctrine for roughly three months, they (Bobos) are
allowed to wrap their dreadlocks in turbans and to wear robes. EABIC
members insist that a man donning a turban represents God in the flesh;
therefore, upon earning the privilege of wearing a turban, a member
must not remove it in public. (99)

Bobos wear dreadlocks also as an aspect of continental African culture and to commemorate one of the proud traditions of Howell's Pinnacle. However, keeping the hairstyle is their reaction to certain biblical instructions which Edward taught as divine mandates. Why the Bible? Rastas generally claim that the Bible was originally written by ancient precolonial Africans about their cosmology, historical perceptions and experiences, and divine laws. (100) Because of the historical and respectful relationship that Rastafari has had with the Bible, Boboshantis use the Old Testament and apocalyptic books of the New Testament. Additionally, Bobos take edification from Afrocentric apocryphal books such as Ethiopia's 14th century Kebra Negast, Fitz Balintine Pettersburg's Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy (c.1926) and Howell's The Promised Key (c.1935). Noteworthy, Rastas also use the Bible because Haile Selassie I endorsed it in 1954 when he opined that:
We in Ethiopia have one of the oldest versions of the Bible... It
(Bible) transcends... empire and... race, it is eternal...
[R]emember... Acts... how Philip baptized the... first Ethiopian to
have followed Christ... [T]he word of God has continued... in...
Ethiopians... [M]y countrymen (citizens of his empire, which includes
Rastas) should share its (Bible) great blessing... [B]y reading the
Bible they should find truth for themselves... solution of... present
difficulties and guidance for... future actions... I glory in the
Bible. (101)

Rastas and Bobos, however, do not accept all of the contents in the Bible uncritically because of a common view that some corruptions exist in the versions because of mistranslations of certain ideas from the ancient African Hebrew linguistic and cultural contexts. Furthermore, some corruptions were done deliberately to enhance Babylon philosophy, and serve religious ideas of the day and time. Thus, Rastas use their own hermeneutics and understanding (Rastalogy overstanding) to excavate and distil biblical truths, sensible ideas and explanations in line with Haile Selassie's commandment that "by reading the Bible, they should find truth for themselves."

So what sense-meaning do Bobos make of their locks and untrimmed beards from their Afrocentric and biblical outlooks? Locks symbolically express their pride in African cultural identity. Additionally, the Boboshanti views the razor, comb and scissors as devices of Babylon which barbers mainly use to contradict nature's way. (102) Thus, allowed to grow in a "natty" (natural and neat) way, uncut, uncombed and unbrushed, but frequently washed with water and natural plant-based deodorizers, the locks of Bobos symbolise mounting unstoppable defiance and resistance to Babylon and its ways. (103)

Bobos consider themselves as children of the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, (104) a biblical royal title taken from Revelations 5:1-5 and conferred on Haile Selassie I by Ethiopia's traditional king makers and Levitical priests when he was enthroned. Interestingly, he liked lions and kept some as pets in his palace. The lion, king of the jungle, exudes gentility and royalty yet, it is powerful and ferocious when provoked. While Bobos call themselves as priests, prophets, princes and princesses, lords and empresses, they simultaneously refer to themselves as Lions and Lionesses because they consider themselves as offspring of the lion-spirited emperor. Consequently, they perceive their dreadlocks as symbolizing the mane, that is, "locks" of the Lion of Judah and all the natural and spiritual qualities of the lion, which they must endeavour to manifest in their lives. Bobos, therefore, see "the fullness," that is, the uncut hair on the scalp and untrimmed beard, as the requisite, indispensable and chief mark of a Rastafari. Accordingly, any forceful cutting of the hair of a Bobo in whole or in part, like what the police did to many Rastas in Jamaica during the early years of the movement, for example, as it happened in the Coral Gardens and Back-o-Wall affairs of 1959 and 1962 respectively, (105) is deemed by Bobos as disempowering and humiliating. Therefore, the fullness symbolises political authority and autonomy and spiritual strength. The spiritual power encourages, emboldens and protects the Bobo against wicked forces. Bobos make allusions to the biblical story of Samson, a strong man of God with "seven locks", that is, seven dreadlocks, who, according to Judges 13:5, was destined to deliver Israel from the Philistines, to substantiate this view. Like Samson, Bobos deem their hair as their strength; however, it is their weakness if they cut it. They explain this view with Judges 16:16-17 that: "And... she (Delilah, a Philistine) pressed him (Samson) daily with her words...; Then he... said unto her, There has not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God...: If I be shaven, then my strength will go... I shall become weak ... like any other man." Thus, the fullness of the Bobo symbolises physical and spiritual strength from which the Bobo draws inspiration to firmly face the pestilence, illusions and unwholesome distractions of the Babylon system. Moreover, as disciples of naturalism, who try to live a simple life, Bobos consider dreadlocks as symbolising simplicity, natural grace and divine beauty especially for the women. Deeming themselves as reincarnated Israelites whose Black ancestors wore locks to symbolise their important ancient statuses such as monarchs, spiritually enlightened persons and members of sacerdotal orders, Bobos consider the fullness, a tangible aspect of their being, as symbolising a reinvention of their royal and sacerdotal statuses and identity as reincarnated Israelites. (106)

Bobos claim that Haile Selassie's, ancestor King Solomon, the acclaimed wise biblical African Israelite ruler, even praised locks and symbolised them as royally beautiful in Songs of Solomon 4:1 and 6:7: "Behold, thou art fair, my love...; thou hast doves eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats..." and "As a piece of pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks," respectively. In their conviction that Ras Tafari makes them descendants of an ancient African Israelite royal family, Bobos consider their fullness a symbol and enhancer of their royal beauty and physique. In line with Songs of Solomon 5:11, which extols a head that is as fine gold and locks which are bushy and black as a raven, Bobos are convinced that "the fullness" aesthetically elevates one's looks to a more royal and beautiful dimension as it did in the eyes of Solomon. Thus, the fullness is one of the standard characteristics of true natural beauty and royal intelligence.

Apart from being a symbolic antenna of spiritual power and wisdom, it signifies their covenant with their God-King, Jah Rastafari. If Bobos have to shave, they will only do so in accordance with certain biblical instructions that underpin the Nazarite vow. Bobos invoke Numbers 6 to justify the fullness as a symbol of their special suzerainty covenant with the supreme divinity and separation from the mundane. Thus, their fullness is in line with their obedience to the law of the Nazarite which Jah Rastafari commanded in Numbers 6:1-2. They refer to Numbers 6: 5-6, that is, "All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled in which he separates himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow," to explain their fullness as symbolising their divine mandate and spirituality and marking them as Jah Rastafari's priests and priestesses.

Dreadlocks also symbolise their revered status as contemporary Levites (royal priest and priestesses) and their search of greater spiritual development, maturity and consciousness in and about Jah Rastafari. For this reason Prince Edwards, deemed the royal Bobo High Priest, wore the locks. Accordingly, Bobos invoke Leviticus 21:5-6: "They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard nor make any cuttings in their flesh... They shall be holy unto their God...," to aver that Jah Rastafari instructed His servants, that is, priests and priestesses, to keep the fullness to symbolise their commitment to abstain from Babylon's ways. Leviticus 19:27, that is, "Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard," is invoked to express the view that their fullness symbolises obedience to Jah Rastafari's divine order.

In the view of the Boboshanti, most members of ancient Israel's sacerdotal and prophetic orders had the fullness and were divinely enlightened persons of Jah; biblical verses like Samuel 1:11 and Luke 1:15, for example, are used to show that Prophet Samuel and John the Baptist were Nazarites with the fullness. Furthermore, Acts 18:18 shows Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, taking the Nazarite vow and keeping the fullness. Key figures such as Moses, Aaron, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Jesus Christ had the fullness as a sacred symbol of their consecration and separation from the "profane". Biblical prophets such as Ezekiel also received visions and spiritual direction through their locks as substantiated by Ezekiel 8:3: "And he (Spirit of God)... took me by a lock of mine head and... lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem...". To Bobos, therefore, the fullness is a repository that receives the energies of Jah Rastafari, nature and culture which give revelation, strength, beauty, divine consciousness, Rastafari identity, African pride and protection from Babylon. Through their symbolisation of the fullness of dreadlocks, Bobos create a vision and antenna with hair which they endeavour to use to access these boons.


In summary, the debate about hair symbolism, part of the grand discussion about the human body as a complex symbol, traverses gender and religion to politics; it is also both ancient and intricate. My own experiences and scholarship of academics show that individuals, social groups and societies symbolise hair through how they manage it. The manipulated symbol defines or expresses the self or camouflages or conceals it. Accordingly, this paper has offered readings of Rastafari philosophy and culture through the optic of the Boboshanti Order in relation to their hairstyle (dreadlocks) which undoubtedly is gaining popularity particularly among Blacks and generally the world over. It has teased out powerful symbolic representations that the medium of dreadlocks (the fullness) expresses about Afrocentric Rastafari spirituality, social communication, religiosity, identity, subliminal protest, political beliefs and prophetic visions, and general resistance to oppression and other forms of racial discrimination. Conversely, some people wear dreadlocks as a secular fad. Regardless of this faddish aspect, known in Rasta circles as "Fashion Dread," (107) Boboshantis wear dreadlocks and the untrimmed beard as a divinely mandated act with spiritual, political and cultural pragmatic realities. Bobos view their fullness as an expression of their inner sense of harmony and oneness with God and his laws and nature, and rootedness in African culture. The fullness, to Bobos, chiefly distinguishes them and other "authentic" Rastas from "inauthentic" ones. Noteworthy, dreadlocks or the fullness do not constitute the sine qua non of Rastafari living for some known Rastas. (1) For example, Morgan Heritage, the renowned international reggae group, made up of dreadlocks-wearing Rastas, articulate in their hit song Don't Haffi Dread (1) (Don't have to have Dreadlocks) the notion that "This (Rastafari) is not is not a dreadlocks thing, [it is a] divine conception of the heart." Regardless of the different views held even by Rastas about the centrality or otherwise of dreadlocks within Rastafari, Bobos maintain that "the fullness" is essential to Rasta divine livity (lifestyle). This conviction has made both male and female Boboshantis to keep their dreadlocks under brightly coloured headwraps.


(1) The Oxford Universal Dictionary, London: Oxford University Press, 1955, 2109, defines symbol as: Something that stands for, represents, or denotes something else (not by exact resemblance, but by vague suggestion, or by some accidental or conventional relation); esp. a material object representing or taken to represent something immaterial or abstract.

(2) L. Olivier, "Greeting rituals as everyday management of differences among Ras Tafari groups in Stellenbosch," Anthropology Southern Africa, 33(3/4), 2010, 128, cited in Martin A.M. Gansinger, Radical Religious Thought in Black Popular Music. Five Percenters and Bobo Shanti in Rap and Reggae, Hamburg: Anchor Academic Publishing, 2017, 54.

(3) Rasta is a short form of Rastafari. Rasta and Rastafari will be used interchangeably in this paper.

(4) See, for example, Darren J. Middleton, "As it is in Zion. Seeking the Rastafari in Ghana," Black Theology, 4 (2), 2006, 151-172; Elorm Dovlo, "Rastafari, African Hebrews and Black Muslims: Return "Home' Movements in Ghana," Exchange, 31(1), 2002, 2-22; De-Valera Botchway, "Conference Report on 2nd Rastafari Council Of Ghana Conference, Accra, Ghana, 5th March, 2017," Accra, 2017; Neil J. Savishinsky, "Rastafari in the Promised Land: The Spread of a Jamaican Socioreligious Movement among the Youth of West Africa," African Studies Review, 37(3), 1994, 19-50; Zeke Stern, "A Dreader Armageddon: An Introduction to Rastafarianism in Ghana," Independent Study Project, SIT Study Abroad Ghana, 2004.

(5) This popular Rastafari term is biblically derived from John 14:2: "In my Father's house are many mansions."

(6) See, for example, Helene Lee, The First Rasta: Leonard Howell and the Rise of Rastafarianism, Lawrence Hill: Chicago Review, 2003; Chris Salewicz, Bob Marley: The Untold, Harper Collins, 2009; Timothy White, Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983.

(7) See, for example, Horace Campbell. Rasta and Resistance: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney, Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1987; M. Barnett, "The many faces of Rasta: Doctrinal Diversity within the Rastafari Movement," Caribbean Quarterly, 51(2), 2005, 67-78; M. Barnett, Rastafari in the New Millennium: A Rastafari Reader, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2014; S. Kitzinger, "Protest and Mysticisim: The Rastafari Cult of Jamaica," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 8(2), 1969, 240-262; D. R. Mack, From Babylon to Rastafari: Origin and history of the Rastafarian Movement, Chicago: Frontline Distribution International, 1999; Carol Anne Manget-Johnson, "Dread Talk: The Rastafarians' Linguistic Response to Societal Oppression," MA Thesis, Georgia State University, 2008; N. S. Murrell, W. D. Spencer, and A. A. McFarlane (eds.), Chanting Down Babylon. The Rastafari Reader, Kingston: Ian Randle, 1998; M. A. Miller, "The Rastafarian in Jamaican Political Culture: The Marginalization of a Change Agent," The Western Journal of Black Studies, 17(2), 1993, 112-177; V. Pollard, "The Social History of Dread Talk," Caribbean Quarterly, 28(4), 1982,17-40; M. Rowe, "The Woman in Rastafari," Caribbean Quarterly, 26(4), 1980, 13-21; H. Rubenstein and C. Suarez, "The Twelve Tribes of Israel: An Explorative Field Study," Religion Today, 9(2), 1994, 1-6; J. Niiah, "Nettleford and Rastafari's Inner Landscape," Caribbean Quarterly, 57(3/4), 2011, 49-63; K. G. Chakravarty, "Rastafari Revisited: A Four-Point Orthodox/Secular Typology," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 83(1), 2014, 151-180; K. G. Chakravarty, "African Nazarites: A Comparative Religious Ethnography of Rastafari and Ibandla lamaNazaretha," Doctoral Dissertation, University of Montreal, 2014; B. Chevannes, "Healing the Nation: Rastafari Exorcism of the Ideology of Racism in Jamaica," Caribbean Quarterly, 36(1/2), 1990, 59-84; B. Chevannes, Rastafari: Roots and Ideology, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1994; S. Davidson, "Leave Babylon: The Trope of Babylon in Rastafarian Discourse," Black Theology, 6(1), 2015, 46-60; E. B. Edmonds, Rastafari: from Outcasts to Cultural Bearers, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002; L. A. Julien, "Great Black Warrior Queens: An Examination of the Gender Currents within Rastafari Thought and the Adoption of a Feminist Agenda in the Rasta Women's Movement," Agenda, 17(57), 2003, 76-84; S. Kamimoto, "Influence of Reggae Music on the Economic Activities of EABIC Rastafarians in Jamaica," Caribbean Quarterly, 61(1), 2015, 42-59.

(8) J. Niiah, "Sensitive Scholarship: A Review of Rastafari Literature(s),"Caribbean Quarterly, 51(3/4), 2005, 11-34; J. V. Owens, "Literature on the Rastafari: 1955-1974," Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 6(1-2), 1977, 150-164; B. Chevannes, "The Literature of Rastafari," Social and Economic Studies, 26(1), 1977, 239-262.

(9) Gansinger, 9.

(10) Gansinger, 40.

(11) See, for example, Carl G. Jung, Man and his Symbols, Dell, 1968; Frances Cress Welsing, Isis Papers: Keys to the Colors, Washington DC: CW Publishing, 2004.

(12) Ernst Cassirer, "A Clue to the Nature of Man: The Symbol," in Jodi O'Brien (ed.), The Production of Reality: Essays and Readings in Social Interaction, L.A./London/New Delhi/Singapore/Washington D.C.: Sage, 2011, 71 (71-72).

(13) See Jung, Man; Welsing.

(14) Gerd Sebald, "Crossing the Finite Provinces of Meanings: Experience and Metaphorizing of Literature and Arts," in Michael Barber and Jochen Dreher (eds.), The Interrelation of Phenomenology, Social Sciences and the Arts, Heidelberg/New York/London: Springer, 2014, 120 (117-128).

(15) See Michael Barber, "Alfred Schutz," in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2018 Edition), Accessed on April 5, 2018.

(16) Sebald, 120, citing Alfred Schutz and Thomas Luckmann's The Structures of the Life-World (1973).

(17) Barber, "Alfred Schutz".

(18) "The Five K's--Kesh: Uncut Hair," Sikh Dharma International, Accessed on May 5, 2018.

(19) Anthony Synnott, "Shame and Glory: A Sociology of Hair," The British Journal of Sociology, 38, (3), 1987, 408 (381-413).

(20) Welsing, 54.

(21) Welsing, 54.

(22) Cited in Welsing, 57.

(23) Welsing, 56. See also Jung, Man, 3-4.

(24) Jung, Man, 4

(25) Welsing, 55.

(26) See, Welsing 56; See, C.G. Jung, Psyche and Symbol: A Selection from the Writings of C.G. Jung, Violet S. De Laszlo (ed.), Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1958; Jung, Man, 3-4.

(27) Synnott, 381, 404.

(28) Synnott, 381.

(29) Synnott, p. 381.

(30) See Charles Berg, The Unconscious Significance of Hair, London: Allen & Unwin, 1951. For a supportive critique of this work and relevant statement on the anthropology of hair, see E.R. Leach, "Magical Hair," in John Middleton (ed.), Myth and Cosmos, Garden City, NY: Natural History Press, 1967, 77-108.

(31) E. R. Leach, "Magical Hair," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, (88), 1958, 147-164.

(32) C. Hallpike, "Social Hair,"Man, (n.s.), 1969, 256-64.

(33) Andrew Strathern, "Flutes, Birds, and Hair in Hagen (PNG)," Anthropos, 84(1/3), 1989, 86 (81-87).

(34) Mary Douglas, Natural Symbols, London: Pelican Books, 1973, 102.

(35) Synnott, 409.

(36) Synnott, 405.

(37) Synnott, 410.

(38) Synnott, 410.

(39) Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Omanhene (Paramount Chief) of Essikado (British Sekondi), conversation with author, Cape Coast, October 12, 2018.

(40) Strathern, 81.

(41) Strathern, 85.

(42) See Strathern.

(43) Strathern, 85.

(44) Richard Slobodin, "Alexander Hunter Murray and Kutchin Hair Style," Arctic Anthropology, 18(2), 1981, 35 (29-42).

(45) Slobodin, 35.

(46) Roy Sieber and Frank Herreman, "Hair in African Art and Culture," African Arts, 33(3), 2000, 56 (64-69+96)

(47) See also R. Sieber and F. Herreman (ed.), Hair in African Art and Culture, New York: Prestel, The Museum for African Art, 2000.

(48) Synnott, 410.

(49) In reference to Rig Veda Hymn 10:136. For translations, see Ralph T. H. Griffith, The Hymns of the Rigveda, Benares: E. J. Lazarus and Co, 1897; Karel Werner, "Yoga and the Rig Veda: An Interpretation of the Kesin Hymn (RV 10, 136)," Religious Studies 13 (3), 1977, 289-302.

(50) See, "Story of Ganga's descent on Earth and her arrival at Varanasi," Holy Dham, Accessed on October 12, 2018.

(51) It means students. Singular: Talib.

(52) Neil J. Savishinsky, "The Baye Faal in the Senegambia: Muslim Rastas in the Promised Land?," Africa, 64 (2), 1991, 211 (211-219). In Sufism, tariqa connotes mystical way or path, or religious rule. See Louis Brenner, "Concepts of Tariqa in West Africa: The Case of the Qadiriyya," in Donal B. Cruise O'Brien and Christian Coulon (eds.), Charisma and Brotherhood in African Islam, Oxford University Press, 1988, 34 (33-52).

(53) In Sufism this title indicates the highest level of leadership and spiritual and mystical attainments.

(54) See Donal B. Cruise O'Brien, "Charisma Comes to Town: Mouride Urbanization 1945-1986," in Donal B. Cruise O'Brien and Christian Coulon (eds.), Charisma and Brotherhood in African Islam, Oxford University Press, 1988, 135-155; Savishinsky, "The Baye Faal in the Senegambia," 211-219.

(55) See Donal B. Cruise O'Brien, The Mourides of Senegal: The Political and Economic Organization of an Islamic Brotherhood, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971, 141-158.

(56) This is a numinous authority and grace which can be transmitted by holy persons, such as sheikhs, and holy places.

(57) See Sieber and Herreman (ed.), Hair in African Art and Culture.

(58) See "Dare to Dread," The Guardian, Accessed on July 13, 2018; "Dread Locks Roots," D.A.R.C. Diasporan African Rastafari Congress, Accessed on July 13, 2018.

(59) Taylor Bryant, "The Fascinating History of Locs," 2017, Accessed on October, 12, 2018; Bert Princess Gabbara, "The History of Dreadlocks," Ebony, Accessed on October 12, 2018

(60) Bob Marley and the Wailers, "Rastaman Live," Confrontation album, Tuff Gong: Kingston, 1983.

(61) It mentions the historical anteriority of Ethiopia by linking it to the Garden of Eden and its river called Gihon which encompassed and nurtured Ethiopia.

(62) It predicts that Egypt (Africa) will produce royalty and Ethiopia will soon stretch her hands unto God.

(63) Israelites were likened to Ethiopians by God.

(64) It discusses the baptism of the Ethiopian Official by the apostle Philip.

(65) Lee, 53-61.

(66) Tony Martin, Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, Dover, Mass.: The Majority Press, 1976.

(67) Christine Chivallon, The Black Diaspora of the Americas: Experiences and Theories out of the Caribbean, Kingston/Miami: Ian Randle Publishers, 2011, 172, citing Leonard E. Barrett, The Rastafarians, 1988, 67.

(68) Haile Selassie means Power (Might) of the Holy Trinity.

(69) Lee, 218.

(70) Lee, 64-67.

(71) Gansinger, 46, citing V. Pollard, 1982, 19.

(72) See M.G. Smith, Roy Augier, and Rex Nettleford, The Ras Tafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica, Mona, Jamaica: Institute of Social and Economic Research, University College of the West Indies,1960, 9-16.

(73) Rastas prefer to use this contraction of Yahweh. JAH (capitalised) can be found the King James Version Bible in Psalm 64:4.

(74) Orville W. Beckford and Christopher A.D. Charles, "Black Radical Tradition and Resistance in Jamaica," in Moussa Traore and Tony Talburt (eds.), Fight For Freedom: Black Resistance and Identity, Accra: Sub Saharan Publishers, 120 (106-142); See also Lee.

(75) Lee.

(76) Lee.

(77) Lee, 229.

(78) Lee, 229-230.

(79) Ras Djabi, conversation, November, 2018.

(80) See Lee.

(81) See Lee, 218; The Star, March 22, 1958, 1 for reports about his activities and struggles to reorganise the Rastas after Pinnacle.

(82) See, for example, Chevannes, Rastafari: Roots and ideology, 171-188 for some insight into aspects Boboshanti life, such as socialization of children, female taboos, beliefs and rituals and relations with the outside society.

(83) "Freedom, Redemption and International Repatriation," E.A.B.I.C. Newsletter. Accessed on July 4, 2018.

(84) "Freedom, Redemption and International Repatriation." For more in this Garveyite notion see Amy J. Garvey (ed.), The Philosophy and Opinion of Marcus Garvey, Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 138.

(85) See the Boboshanti Emblem captioned "Repatriation and Reparation," Accessed on February 21, 2012

(86) Gansinger, 11.

(87) See Numbers 6: 1-21 for the character of the biblical Nazarite.

(88) Gansinger, 63.

(89) Ras Ahuma Bosco, President of Rastafari Council of Ghana, conversation with author, Accra, 2018.

(90) Ras Kwame Malcolm, Rasta Pantheist, Journalist and Current Affairs Radio Show Host, Empire FM, Takoradi, conversation with author, November 18, 2018.

(91) Gansinger, 13, 58, 116.

(92) Ras Djabi, conversation with author, 2018.

(93) Gansinger, 59.

(94) Sizzla, "One Away," Black Woman and Child album, CD, New York, 1997.

(95) Gansinger, 61.

(96) Gansinger, 61-62.

(97) Gansinger 62, citing S. Kamimoto, "Influence of Reggae Music" 45.

(98) Ras Ahuma Bosco, conversation, 2018.

(99) See "The coming of Righteousness of Salvation," on Accessed on February 21, 2012; Nana Antwi Boasiako Barimah, Black Jah, typescript, n.p. iv.

(100) Ras Djabi, conversation with author, 2018.

(101) Ras Nii, Bobo, conversation with author, Accra, 2017.

(102) Ras Bessa, Bobo, conversation with author, Accra, 2017.

(103) L. Smith, G. Cubitt, R. Wilson, and K. Fouseki (eds.), Representing Enslavement and Abolition in Museums, Wayne Modest, "Slavery and the (Symbolic) Politics of Memory in Jamaica: Rethinking the Bicentenary," New York/London: Routledge, 2011, 87 (75-94).

(104) Ras Nii, conversation with author, 2017; Ras Djabi, conversation with author, 2018.

(105) Ras Kwame Malcolm, conversation with author, November 18, 2018.

(106) Ras Ahuma Bosco, conversation, 2018.

(107) On Don't Haffi Dread album, VP Records, CD, 1999.

De-Valera N.Y.M. Botchway

Department of History University of Cape Coast Ghana
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Title Annotation:Human Hair: Intrigues and Complications
Author:Botchway, De-Valera N. Y. M.
Publication:Journal of Pan African Studies
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:6ETHI
Date:Dec 15, 2018
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