Monday, May 18, 2009

Ethiopia: Birthplace of coffee and Rastafari

In "There Is No Me Without You," writer Melissa Fay Greene weaves Ethiopian history and culture throughout Haregewoin Teferra's personal story, the heart of the AIDS crisis, and Teferra's work to save her country's children.  Though I knew Ethiopia was the birthplace of coffee, I did not realize the Rastafari movement was based on the belief that an Ethiopian emperor was an incarnation of God.  This calls for a complete overhaul of my wardrobe for the trip.

"Born Tafari Makonnen in 1892, he had advanced through connections, marriage, and statecraft to being named ras (duke) of Harrar in 1913.  In 1930 he was crowned the 111th emperor in the succession of King Solomon and took the royal name Haile Selassie I (Might of the Trinity).  Selassie immediately authorized the writing of Ethiopia's first constitution, which established the holiness of his person and his birthright to the legendary throne of Menelik the First, the almost mythic son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon of Israel.  ... Soon after his coronation, a sect of Jamaicans began to worship him as divine; they took his earlier title Ras Tafari, for the name Rastafarianism." ~ Melissa Fay Greene

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