Over 130 representatives of 12 African countries, Brazil, Seychelles, United Kingdom, United States of America and the Caribbean, concluded the All Africa Rastafari Gathering in Shashemene, Ethiopia, on Tuesday November 7, 2017.
One outcome of the Gathering was the formation of the Rastafari Continental Council, which will convene in South Africa in May, 2018 to bring the report from this Gathering to RasTafari communities in Africa. This entityproposed to represent Rastafari in the African continent as a region.
With regard to the dual focus on Representation for Repatriation and intra-Africa trade, the Gathering resolved to advocate expediting the freedom of movement for Africans in Africa as a prerequisite for boosting intra-Africa trade. This issue was highlighted when two delegates,from Malawi and Jamaica respectively, were unable to enter Ethiopia on arrival, as both countries are ineligible for the issuance of visas on arrival.
Other resolutions were for Rastafari representation in African Union structures, responsible use of social media, and sustainability of the Gathering as an annual event with continued focus on intra-Africa trade. However, keynote speaker Dr. Desta Meghoo, during the opening ceremony, cautioned the Gathering against being myopic and insular when thinking of trading relations and proposed a Pan-African scope for the production and manufacture of goods with the ‘Made by Africans’ brand.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Rastafari Global Secretariat, also present at the meeting, resolved to expand its regional framework for representation and to support the Shashemene and other repatriated communities’ pursuit of legal status in Africa. Conference organizers described the gathering as mature and purposeful with delegates completing the agenda in a timely manner and successfully networking for trade.
Determined to advance the goals of cultural sovereignty, economic freedom and cultural industry in a creative economy, the conference Declaration emphasized the Rastafari ethos in the Nation’s trading relations. It also urged accelerating the pace of the African Diaspora’s membership as the 6th Region of the African Union.
Ghana was represented by Royal Moses Kofi Asante, Empress Marina Blake, RasAmdi Zion and Ahuma Bosco Ocansey whose participation was supported by U.K based Gallery GM.
Angola Benin Cameroon Ivory Coast
Ethiopia Ghana Kenya Malawi
South Africa South Sudan Zimbabwe Seychelles
Brazil United States of America United Kingdom Caribbean (Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, Montserrat)
The Shashemene Declaration
THE MAKING OF AFRICA WILL NOT WAIT
‘We stand today on the stage of world affairs, before the audience of world opinion. We have come together to assert our role in the direction of world affairs and to discharge our duty on [this] great continent … Africa is today at mid-course in transition from the Africa of yesterday to the Africa of tomorrow. Even as we stand here, we move from the past into the future. The task on which we have embarked, the making of Africa will not wait. We must act, to shape and mold the future and leave our imprint on events as they slip past into history’(HIM Haile Selassie I, May 24, 1963).
- We, the representatives of Rastafari communities and organizations from Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Seychelles, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the Caribbean,
- Gathered in Shashemene, Ethiopia for the inaugural All Africa Rastafari Gathering on November 1-7, 2017,
- Determined to advance the goals of cultural sovereignty, economic freedom and cultural industry in a creative economy;
- Reflecting the principles of international morality and practical application of the Rastafari Creed in all future actions and programs;
- Recognizing the necessity of the Rastafari Nation, to realize its potential for development through intra-Africa trade;
- Acknowledging the diversity of Rastafari and the role of Rastafari in the African Renaissance, creating Africa’s present and her sustainable future;
- Establishing a network of Rastafari skilled and professional persons, traders, intellects and consultants, collectively forging a new path to self-reliance and economic empowerment.
We reaffirm our commitment to:
- Continuity of the Gathering as an annual event, with Ethiopia determined the best venue for the second All Africa Rastafari Gathering in November 2018.
- Pursuit of strengthened Rastafari representation in the relevant African Union structures and processes
- Creation and maintenance of a data base of Rastafari skilled and professional persons, traders, intellects, and consultants
- Supportfor the repatriated Rastafari community in Shashemene Ethiopia and elsewhere in the continent in the quest for legal status and citizenship in Africa
- Advocacy for the right of Rastafari communities to enjoy, along with the wider community, the right to a clean and healthy environment
- Responsible and effective use of social media in functioning the Rastafari intra-Africa trade network
We are convinced that:
Unity within the Rastafari Nation is an essential element of African unity.
Freedom of movement for Africans in Africa is an urgent requirement for boosting intra-Africa trade.
Youth empowerment is a critical ingredient of sustainable development.
African-centered education must be more agriculturally inclined and reflect the importance of Rastafari in shaping the direction of a self-reliant Rastafari Nation and a self-determined Africa.
Holistic health and wellness are of paramount importance, and related products and services must be made accessible to the Rastafari Nation in a way that prioritizes the principles of Rastafari livity.
Access the services of the Haile Selassie I Foundation for Law and Society to defend the rights of the Rastafari Nation and develop legislature to support the interests of Rastafari.
We are determined to:
Safeguard the Rastafari way of life for members of the community who are incarcerated.
Protect and promote the rights of women, children, elders and other vulnerable groups.
Press for membership of the African Diaspora as the 6th Region of the African Union.
Support Rastafari organization and centralization initiatives with regard to repatriation of from African Diaspora throughout the African continent.
Adopt ways and means of self-financing the work involved in the annual organization of the All Africa Rastafari Gathering, exploring the cooperative credit union as a means of financing business enterprises.
Establish a range of financing measures including an Afrikan Reparations Fund to engage in the self-repair aspect of reparations.
Stand in solidarity with the Rastafari community of Shashemene and other repatriated Rastafari individual communities in Africa in the quest for legal status and citizenship in Africa.
We urge the African Union, regional and international financial institutions, other relevant regional and international institutions as well asnon-government organizations, with full respect for their autonomy, and all sectors of civil society, in cooperation with governments, to fully commit themselves and contribute to the implementation of this declaration.
We hereby adoptthis declaration and commit ourselves as Rastafari representatives to ensure that the examples of Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen, infused with the universal principle of Ubuntu, be reflected in all our policies, plans, programs and trading arrangements.
‘So long as the spirit of Africa prevails and stirs within us, so long as we continue to think and work and act within the African context which we have created, imbued by the African atmosphere, which surrounds and pervades us, we are confident that the goals we seek shall be attained. We have created this spirit; it is our child’ (Haile Selassie I on Unity and Brotherhood).
Dated this 7th day of November, 2017
Resolution on the Continuity of the All Africa Rastafari Gathering
We the delegates of the inaugural All Africa Rastafari Gathering meeting in Shashemene, Ethiopia from November 1-7, 2017, comprising representatives of 10 African countries, Seychelles, UK, US and the Caribbean, with intent to initiate engagement in intra-Africa trade;
Expressing commitment to ensuring the continuity of the gathering with ongoing focus on intra-Africa trade;
Recognizing the Pan-Rastafari interest in developing trading links with, and repatriation to the African continent;
Noting the immediate expressions of readiness to host similar gatherings in other African countries.
Proposing that the Gathering be held on a regular and rotating basis throughout the regions of the African continent;
Hereby resolve to establish the Interim Continental Rastafari Working Committee as a mobilizing and coordinating entity, taking full organizational responsibility for future gatherings and to declare Ethiopia as host country for the next Gathering in November 2018.
Dated this 7th day of November, 2017
Resolution on Representation for Repatriation
We the representatives of 10 African countries, Seychelles, UK, USA and the Caribbean, convening in Shashemene, Ethiopia from November 1-7, 2017, for the All Africa Rastafari Gathering;
Lauding the example set by the Republic of Ghana in granting Ghanaian citizenship to persons from the African Diaspora who have shown their commitment to African development;
Observing keenly the commitment of the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to issue an Ethiopian national ID to the Rastafari population of Ethiopia;
Commending the Government of the Republic of Benin for facilitating the integration of JAH family in the social and sustainable development of the nation;
Acting on the commitments laid out in the UN Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (2001);
Recognizing the preparatory actions of African-based Rastafari groupings in accessing lands and making other forms of preparation for Rastafari Repatriation;
Urging acceleration of the pace for formalizing membership of the African Diaspora as the 6th Region of the African Union;
Hereby resolve to strengthen the capacity of various national, regional and international Rastafari organizations to represent the Rastafari Nation on the AU ECOSOCC and in other structures to facilitate repatriation from the African Diaspora to the African motherland.
Adopted on November 7, 2017
Resolution on Freedom of Movement for Africans in Africa
We the delegates of the inaugural All Africa Rastafari Gathering, meeting in Shashmene, Ethiopia from November 1 – 7, 2017, with the intent to initiate engagement in intra-Africa trade, in the context of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent ((Rasta say Decade of African Ascent);
Considering “…that intra-regional trade could play a significant role in accelerating economic growth and poverty reduction and enhancing food and energy security in Africa…” (UN ECA)
Recognizing freedom of movement as a prerequisite to boosting intra-Africa trade
Noting the unsatisfactory pace of the issuance of the African passport to the peoples of African Union member states and
Congratulating pioneering countries like Rwanda, Mauritius, Seychelles, Benin and most recently, the Republic of Ghana, for their policies of visa on arrival for African citizens; and welcoming the New Generation Electronic Passport
Urging member states to prioritize and to accelerate the pace of realizing the free movement of African peoples in Africa
Hereby resolve to forge linkages with governments, non-government agencies and the private sector, for study, advocacy and action, to influence the pace of achieving freedom of movement for Africans in Africa.
Adopted on November 7, 2017
Resolution on Responsible Use of Social Media
We the delegates of the inaugural All Africa Rastafari Gathering, meeting in Shashmene, Ethiopia from November 1 – 7, 2017,
Acknowledging the central need for ongoing networking, involving use of the Internet;
Recognizing the use of social media as an effective medium of communication;
Abhorring the abuse and inappropriate use of social media to engage in rude, disrespectful, slanderous and other behaviours not in accordance with the teachings of His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I;
Hereby resolve to engage in responsible use of social media to secure and advance the gains of this Gathering.
We further resolve to contribute to existing Facebook page – or develop new social media sites demonstrating responsible use of social media in all posts.
Adopted November 7, 2017
RESOLUTION OF THE RASTAFARI CONTINENTAL COUNCIL (RCC)
On November 6, 2017 members of the All Africa Rastafari Gathering met to form the Rastafari Continental Council, initiated by representatives of the following twelve (12) African countries: Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroon, Benin, South Sudan, Malawi, the Seychelles, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and the Ivory Coast.
Following intensive global community consultations, reasonings and exchanges, we did recognize and fulfill the need for unity in the inauguration of the Rastafari Continental Council (RCC).
It was further resolved that the first meeting of the RCC will be held in South Africa on May 23-24, 2018 for reporting of action since the inauguration of the RCC.
An invitation will be extended to Ras Tafari communities in all African countries.