Standing next to a policeman who looks like he is twice as stoned as he is, and a lady officer who must have been thinking “maybe plants are really farming us, giving us oxygen until we eventually expire and turn into mulch which they can consume”.
A Kenyan man recently requested that his charges be read in Rastafarian. According to local sources, the man who was caught with an unspecified amount of weed further added that Rastafarian is the only language he understands.
What is Rastafarian Language?
The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear the word ‘Rastafarian’ is dreadlocks and marijuana, but there is much more to this religion. Yes, it is a religion if you didn’t know. According to Wikipedia, Rastafari is an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. Unlike the Catholic Church and other religions, there is no central authority in control of the movement meaning you don’t have to pay tithe or sit 3 hours listening to some guy preach about how evil you are and how Satan will barbecue your behind at the end of time.
Followers believe in a single God-‘Jah’ who resides within each individual.
What Is The Connection With Marijuana?
In the late 1800’s, slavery ended. As a result of that, indentured servants from India and China were brought to Jamaica to work, they brought with them marijuana. Being that Jamaica is the perfect place to grow weed. The plant quickly became popular amongst locals.
Soon after, the Rastafari religion not to be confused with the recent Pastafarian religion was born.
The Rastafarian religion places emphasis on the idea that personal experience and intuitive understanding determines the truth and validity of a belief or practice. That means that no Rastafarian has the authority to declare what beliefs and practices other Rastafarians should or should not follow.
How to Speak Rastafarian And Not Look Like An Idiot
Warning if you are not from Jamaica, there is no guarantee that you won’t look and sound stupid in front of your peers while speaking this language. Now that we have that covered, here is how to speak Rastafarian.
What type of reggae music do you listen to? Why ask that you ask?
The simplest way to learn Rastafarian is to listen to reggae music. There are about 12 different types of reggae music namely mento, ska, rocksteady, roots reggae, dub, rockers, lover’s rock, dancehall, ragamuffin, reggae tone, and reggae fusion. Ignore reggae tone for obvious reasons.
The thing is Rastafarian language is kind of like wordplay, for example, instead of saying “thanks” you say “tanks”. Another example is instead of saying “them” you say “dem”.
Popular Rastafarian Words
Remember that old Richie spice song Gideon boots? It goes like this:
I need a Gideon boot and a khaki suit
Fi stand out inna Babylon and represent the truth
Me nah go stay a road, and see bad things, keep mi mouth pon mute
I got a strong Reggae beat with a mic inna mi hand
Fi lead out the youths dem outta destruction
And tell the people they should know…right from wrong
Looking at it you may think that that is a foreign language, but it is English. Translated this is what it means:
‘Gideon’ in Rastafarian means apocalypse, Babylon refers to the human government and institutions that are rebelling against God. I’m guessing you can now understand what he is singing about. Dumbed down, it is a song about good and evil. Listen to it here.
Don’t ask me anything about Sean Paul; I have no idea what he says in his songs.
Zion: The Rastafari holy land, Africa, Ethiopia
Politricks: from the word tricks, means politics
Weed jam: people who smoke weed together
Vampaya: not to be confused with vampire, vampaya refers to fake Rastafarians
Informer: snitch, rat or informant
Babylon system: corrupt government
Fya/fiyah bun: get rid of that or denounce someone or something.
Ital: clean and natural
Irie: feeling good
I and I: we
Iron bird: airplane
According to Rastas, marijuana or ganja was given to us by God, that’s why they call it the ‘holy herb’. But don’t get me wrong; Rastafari is not just about smoking weed. There is much more to it, to its followers, it is a way of life, a mindset and a social movement.
My point is, don’t generalize or assume that Rastafarians are people who grow dreadlocks, smoke weed and do nothing all day. Growing dreadlocks is not a requirement to become a Rastafarian, it is a choice.
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