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Marcus Garvey made the connection, identifying a King from the East (H.I.M. Haile Selassie I) in a prophecy. Jamaicans took up the sound and Rastafari came forward. 

What is the history of Rastafari? The culture? The sociology? Did Jamaica produce the first Rastafarians? What are the religious beliefs of Rastafarians? Are Rastafarians Christians? Do you have these questions or answers. Submit them for inclusion in this section of our site.

This page carries news views about Rastafari - especially at this time when many of the membership of the Ethiopian World Federation are Rastafarian. Visitors to the website may send any information and letters for publication on our Website.  Please send information or questions or links to Rastafarian sites by e-mail to us at . 

The Rastafarian Culture

Historical Documents regarding the Rastafari movement:

April;4 - June 2; 1961


The Back-to-Africa Mission (April;4 --June 2; 1961) which recently concluded a two month fact-finding tour of five African States, found that the Mission's purpose of repatriation to Africa, people of African decent, from Jamaica and elsewhere, was agreed upon by the Government of all the African countries visited i.e. Ethiopia (one week, Nigeria (two weeks), Ghana (one week), Liberia (one week), Sierra Leone (one week). 

The African Governments were willing to co-operate in resettling people of African descent within their ancestral borders. The courtesy and attention afforded the Mission by all African States were excellent. Foodstuff prices were low in the markets and streets; prices at hotels were high. Food was plenty and in variety. Cattle, goats and sheep were plentiful throughout Africa especially in Ethiopia. Land was controlled by the Chiefs in all the States except Ethiopia, where it is controlled by H.I.M. Every citizen is entitled to land in Ethiopia by Constitution (about 10 acres) and in some other States. 

Roads are good in every State but travelling towards the interior smooth surfaces lessen. In Ethiopia we find the people extremely courteous and loving and look upon all black people as their brothers. H.I.M. is held in the highest esteem by all Ethiopian citizens. In one instance we gave some photographs to an Ethiopian man and woman. She refused to show him although he wanted to see them. He spoke to her in their language and instantly she showed him the photograph. He turned to us and said in English that he had asked her to show him in the name of H.I.M. This incident shows the spiritual conception of the people of Ethiopia towards their Emperor. 

Our meeting with H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I is likened spiritually to the visit of the three wise men who journeyed from the West to the East to visit the Baby Jesus, bringing with them gold, frankincense and myrrh to offer H.I.M. When Herod heard of the new born King of Kings he gave orders to kill all the babies of the land, 3 years old and under. When we presented our gift to the Emperor, before we could tell him who it was from, he said "Is it from the Rastafari Brethren"? We told him "Yes." That shows H.I.M. knows of Rastafari Brethren. H.I.M. also gave each member of the Mission a gold medal for our work, fulfilling biblically equality cometh for all. Only the Rases presented gifts to H.I.M. and the rest of the Mission left us in the palace, fulfilling the parable of the ten virgins-five had oil in their lamps and five had none. At the Church Residence of the Arch-Bishop Abuna Basilios, 10 of us were presented with Ethiopian National Robes, although the tailor had measured 11 of us previously, 1 white man-Mr. Hess, 1 brown man-Mr. Lake and 9 black men; fulfilling biblically the Ethiopia cannot change the colour of his skin neither can the leopard change his spots. 

All the African Governments were willing to negotiate in resettling people in Africa. In every state that we visited, the Rastafarian Brethren expressed to each Government, our conception of His Imperial Majesty, as the Messiah. In Ethiopia and in some of the other states, this conception was not disputed; only in Liberia was there any oppositiion. The Rases also gave each African Government written documents with formulas on how we saw repatriation. We asked them (The African States) to table the cause of repatriation in the U.N.O. 

The Ethiopian Government paid all the Mission's expenses in Ethiopia. In Sierra Leone, the Newspaper carried an article extracted from a London paper under the caption "Incredible deportation planned for Jamaica's fanatic" with photographs of the 3 Rastafarians under it. This was expressed by two Jamaican Government Officials, the paper said. One of the Rases, Bro. Mortimo Planno presented H.H. the Abuna Basilios with a painting depicting H.I.M. in Psalm 2. The climate in Ethiopia is the best throughout the whole world, comparing it to all other climates experienced during our tour. 

MINORITY REPORT OF MISSION TO AFRICA April;4 --June 2; 1961 ( Depart Palisadoes Airport 4th June, 1961 ( Tuesday ) at 10: 15. a.m. Arrived New York by B.O.A.C. 3:40.p.m. ) The Mission comprised of :Dr. L C. Leslie , Adviser; Mr. V . S . Ried, Co--Adviser; Hon. E. H. Lake ( Antigua ) Ministry of Social Welfare; Dr. B. M. Douglas, Mr .Z .Munroe- Scarlett, Afro- West Indian Welfare League; W. Blackwood, U .N .I .A .; Cicel Gordon, Ethiopian World Federation. D. Mack, Filmore Alvaranga, Rasses of Eastern and Central Kingston, Mortimo Planno '' Togo Desta '', representing the Rastafarian Movement . Tuesday, April 4. The Mission left Kingstion for New York where we spent two days at the Hotel Theresa on 5th, Avenue . We were met at Idlewilde Airport by Members of the Ethiopian World Federation ,U.N.I.A. and other Back to Africa Movements in New York. We visited the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in New York, the Headquarters of the Ethiopian World Federation, New York, also visited the U .N .O .Buildings but was not successful in obtaining seats in the balcony of the U. N. O. general assembly . 

Thursday, April 6, 9: 30 p.m.. The Mission left New York for London and arrived at 8:30 a.m.Friday 7th. We stayed at the Hotel Londoner . We visited the Ethiopian Embassy , the French Embassy and the Ghanaian Embassy to obtain visas for entry. THE MISSION VISITED the House of Parliament and Westminister Abbey. The Mission spent one week in London and while their , met many black people from the West Indies and elsewhere who were all intrested in getting back to Africa. 

The Mission left London for Khartoum via Rome on April 14 at 3: 40 p.m. and arrived at Khartoum 4:10 a.m. on Saturday April 15th and stayed at the Grand Hotel, overlooking the River Nile. We drove by car to Omdurman from Khartoum: visited the Ancient House of the Caliph, who defeated and killed the English General Gordon and his troops their with Sudanees tribesmen. We saw other antiques of the famous battle. The Mission left Khartoum 4:30 a.m. our first stop on the Continent of Africa for Addis Ababa , Ethiopia, and arrived there Haile Selassie 1 Airport, via Asmara, where Mack and Alvaranga met four Ethiopian Orthodox Priests, who flew to Addis Ababa with us. 


First Official Stop " Ethiopia " Ethiopia was the Mission's first offical stop. 

We arrived Sunday April 16, 9: 35 a.m. at Addis Ababa by Ethiopian Airlines. We were met at the airport by Ato Getaneh Haile Mariam, chief of English and Commonwealth Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affaris; Woizaro Maize of the Ministry of Education; Lidj Ayele- Work Abebe attached to the Foreign Ministry. We were then taken to Hotel Ghion, reserved for our stay on Sunday morning. We visited the British Embassy and met the Ambassador there. He said there was no clay in Ethiopia ( which we disproved by seeing a lot.) Later in the afternoon the Rasses were invited to visit His Holiness Abuna Basilios, the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church at his residence. The other delegates came along too We discussed H. I. M. Emperor Haile Selassie 1, being the returned Messiah. His Holiness the Abuna told us at the conclusion of the discussion that the Bible can be interpreted that way. We had tea and honey wine with him. 

Monday April 17. 10:a.m. THE Mission visited Her Imperial Majesty's handicraft and technical school for boys and girls where we saw hand weaving of wool, cotton, workings in gold and silver, carpentry, joinery, cabinetmaking, and woodcarving. Monday 5. p.m. The Mission paid a visit to the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry. The Foreing Ministry welcomed the delegation and asked us to state the purpose of our mission. We told him to seek the repartriation of black people to the continent of Africa. He said that the Imperial Ethiopian Government would have to handle that. 

Tuesday, April 18 was to be our audience with H .I .M . Emperor Haile Selassie 1, which was cancelled untill we saw more Government Ministers . We visited the Lions Den opposite. the Imperial Palace instead which contained 21 lions. In the afternoon the Mission paid visit to their Excellencies the Minister of National Community Developement . He welcomed the delegation warmly and said Ethiopia had lands for us. Mr. W . Blackwood wept while expressing his hopes to the Minister. The Minister of Commerce and Industry, he too welcome the delegaation, the Minister of Agriculture- the Minister, who was away in another province at the time. The Chief Educational Officer to the Ministry deputised and said Ethiopia and Ethiopians eagarly awaits our coming. The Officer agreed with the Mission's purposes but that the Imperial Government would have to work it out. 

Wednesday April 19. The Mission visited the Co-operative Farm at Awasa, on the way we stopped at Shesshammane, about 200 kilos from Addis. This is land granted to the people of the Western Hemisphere who aided Ethiopia during the Italian occupation. We met Mr. and Mrs. Piper, West Indians living there for 17 years. Mrs. Piper served us Enjera and Watt ( Ethiopian National Dish ) under a sycamore tree. They also opperate a flower mill. We crossed the Awash River and had lunch at lake Awasa Rest House. 

Thursday April 20. Members of the Mission flew by Ethiopian Airlines Special Charter Flight to Jimma in the province of Kaffa ( where coffe originated ) The dominant tribe there is the Wallo-Galla; the siol is extreemly rich and fertile; coffe grows wild ther and rivers traverse the land. We saw hippopotamus in one of the rivers; foodstuffs and fruits of all discriptions --- both familiar and unfamiliar to us ; fishes and crayfish abound in numerous streams; mangoes are wild and plenty, also cattle, goat and sheep. We lunched at Hotel Ghion ( Jimma ) and flew back to Addis Ababa. 

Friday April 21, 10.p.m. The Mission was granted audience with H .I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie 1. at the Imperial Palace , Addis Ababa. We were interoduced to H . I .M.,by the Minister of the Imperial Guard. Emperor HAIL Selassie 1. welcomed the delegation warmly. Speaking Amharic which was interpreted by the Minister of the Imperial Guard. H.I.M. told us that he knew the black people of the West and particularly Jamaica were blood brothers to the Ethiopian and he knew that slaves were sent from Ethiopia to Jamaica . He said that we should send the right people. The Emperor said Ethiopia was large enough to hold all the people of African descent living outside Africa and he would send a delegation to the West Indies. Dr. Leslie told H .I . M. that Jamaica had plenty of sugar cane factories making sugar and rum. H . I .M.replied that in Ethiopia there was a refinery making sugar not rum. H .I . M. thanked the delegation and presented each of us with gold medeal.   ALL the rest of the delegation left his presence except the three Rastafarian Brethren ( Bros. Fil. Mack. Planno, as we had presents for H .I .M. ) Alvaranga presented H .I .M. with a wood carved map of Africa with a portrait of the Emperor on one side of the wooden case.

The Emperor then spoke in English for the first time to us . He said, "Thats Africa. Is it from the Rastafari Brethren? ( That showed that he knew us before ) We said "YES" Brother Mack presented photographs of the Rastafari Brethren in Jamaica. H.I.M. said again in English, " Photographs; Thank you" Mack also gave H.I.M. a painting of Errol Flynn's island in Jamaica. Brother Planno gave H.I.M. a woven scarf in red, gold, green. H.I.M. said "Is it you that wove it". He said "Yes" He said "Thank you again". We also gave H.I.M. a photograph of a widow and six children--her husband, a Rastafari Brethren , was shot and killed by the police in Jamaica. H.I.M. asked us who was taking care of them now. We told H.I.M. that we took the case to Jamaica's Premier but left the island before it was settled. The Emperor said that he would do what he could to help. We then took leave. Friday Afternoon. The Mission drove by car to the Wonji sugar estate about 80 miles from Addis Ababa. We again passed by Sheshammani, also passed by Nazareth, 77miles east of Addis Ababa. At 8:00 p.m. Friday afternoon the Mission was invited to dinner with Abuna Basilios at his residence . Bishops Thephilus and Phillipos were also present. 

Saturday April 22: The Mission visited the Ministry of the Interior; the Minister welcomed the delegation and said that settlement in Ethiopia was all right for people of African descent. In the afternoon Archbishop Abuna Basilios again called the delegation to his residence where we had tea and honeywine. He then gave us all robes and said that he did not only give them to us as gift but that we should all know ourselves to be Ethiopians. The Mission had lunch with Dr. and Mrs. David Talbot, West Indians residing there. Enjera and Watt was served . Satuarday 8:00 a.m. The Mission was invited to luncheon given by the Vice-President of the Imperial Patriotic Association, in our honour. We were also entertained with Ethiopian National songs and dances by boys and girls and the Ethiopian Police band. 

Sunday April 23, 10:30 a.m. The Mission left Haile Selassie 1. Airport by Ethiopian Airlines for Lagos , Nigeria via Khartoum. Mr. Ayele-Work Abebe was our guide, during the Mission's stay in Ethiopia. Nigeria Sunday April 23, 10:30 p.m. The Mission arrived by Ethiopian Airlines at Ikeja Airport, Nigeria. Mr. Babatunde Harper, of the ministry of Internal Affairs and other officials met us. the mission spent two days at Ikeja Airport Hotel, before going to the Federal Palace Hotel in lagos, the Capital. 

Monday April 24. The Mission visited the Oba Adele (The King of Lagos). The Oba greeted us and said that West Indians coming to Africa, would be returning to the land of thier Fathers. In the afternoon we visted the Yaba industrial estate. 

Tuesday April 25. The Mission had discussions with the Hon. J.M. Johnson, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and Dr. Esin, the Minnister of State. They both welcomed the delegation warmly and Dr. Esin said that the Back-to-Africa Movements would be like the Jewish Restoration toIsraeli and repatriation would be taken up by the Federal Government. Dr. Esin also stated that Africa Could easily absorb all the three million people of the West Indies. "The people are bound to come home", he said and Nigeria would have to alter immigration laws to entertain immigrants. 

Wednesday April 26. The Mission visited His Excellency the governor General Dr. Nwamdi Azikiwe, at State House, lagos, Dr. Zik welcomed the delegation and said that Nigeria would do what it could to resettle the people of Africa descent, scattered throughout the West. His Excellency also made mention of Marcus Garvey, who helped to inspire him. The Mission was also guest of Dr. Azikiwe at an ice show in Lagos. 

Thursday April 27. The mission visited the furniture factory at Onike Village , also the Defacto Bread factory Surelere at Yabba. We drove around Ikoyi Village. 

Friday April 28. The Mission had discussions with the Minister of Internal Affairs and the immigration and Permanent Secretary. Friday 1p.m. A luncheon party was held at the Federal palace Hotel in our honour. Ministers of Government attended. 

IBADAN, Western Nigeria Saturday April 29. The Mission drove by car to Ibadan from Lagos and was accommodated at Green Springs Hotel, 80 miles from Lagos. 10:00 a.m. The Missioncalled on the Head of Service and chief Secretary of the Government in his office. Then met the acting Premier of Ibadan Oba C.DD. Akran in the Premier's office. He spoke very favorably of Repatriation for the black people of the West residing outside Africa. He said that the Federal Government would take up the matter. At 1:00 p.m. a luncheon was given by the Government in honour of the Mission. We met many West Indian residents there. In the Afternoon the Mission toured the University of Ibadan. 6:30 p.m. West Indian residents in Ibadan gave a cocktail party at the residence of the solicitor general, a Jamaican birth citizen of Ibadan, Mr. Alexander, "agodi." 

Sunday April 30: We drove by car to Illora Farm, Settlement, 50 miles from Ibadan. This is a cooperative farm, which the Government runs. There are 50 boys on the farm, who will eventually be the owners within a period of 5 years. There are 13 such farms existing at Ibadan, 14 are now under Government"s consideration. 

Kaduna, Northern Nigeria Monday May 1, 9:00 a.m. The MIssion left Ibadan by air for Kaduna by Nigerian Airlines. We arrived at Kaduna Airport at 11:55 and stayed at the Catering Rest House. We drove around Kaduna; we were met at the Airport by S. A. S. (S.D.) Premier Office. Tuesday May 2: The Mission met the deputy Secretary to the Premier S.A.S.(S.D.)Premier Office. Objects of the meeting was to the dicuss what our mission wanted and to consider the arranged programme. In the afternoon we visited the Legislature and the Kaduna Textile Plant, which employs over 1,600 workers. The cotton used in this factory is grown in Kaduna. Wednesday May 3: The Mission drove by car to the city of Zaria about 60 miles from Kaduna. Zaria is an ancient City with a wall of stone and mud all around it. We visited the Institute of Administration at Samaru; Zaria an Educational Centre. We saw mothers with babies attending classes there. 

Thursday May 4: Departed From Kaduna Airport for Enugu. 

Engugu, Eastern Nigeria Thursday May 4, 1:50 a.m. The Mission arrived by Nigerian Airlines at Enugu.We stayed at the Catering Rest House. In the evening the Mission was invited to dinner by Dr. Micheal Okapara, Primier of Eastern Nigeria at the Primier Lodge. The Primier welcomed the delegation from the West Indies particularly Jamaica and was very pleased indded to see us all now look to Africa as our home, for Africa is long the original home of all black people. Continuing Dr. Okapara said he must apologise for his ancestors who used to sell his brothers to America and the West Indies and other parts of the world, but was glad to see that all is forgotten. Dr. Okapara further stated that the Ibo tribe has a law whereby anyone who can trace his descent back to his tribe, will immediatly received into it. They would carry you from any part of the world and your land accordingly by parents possossion would be restored to you. Dr. Okapara finaly said that Africa welcome all both skilled and unskilled. 

Friday May 5. The Mission met the town Clerk and Assistant , also passed through the College of Technology. We visited the District of Obaja and Ngwo; we lunched at the Catering Rest House Nsukka and visited the University of Nsukka.. 

Saturday May 6: The Mission visited the Primier Dr. Okapara in his office. In the afternoon The Mission was invited to dinner with Sir. Francis Ibiam, Govenor of Eastern Nigeria at Government House , Enugu . Sir. Francis welcomed the delegation and said that the Federal Government would take up the matter of repatriation. 

Ghana Monday May 8: 4:20 p.m. The Mission arrived by Nigerian Airlines at Accra, Ghana. We stayed at the Ambassador Hotel. Government official met us at the Hotel. 

Tuesday May 9: A press confrence was .cancelled until we met Dr. Kwame N.krumah. 8:.00.p.m. a reception was held in our honour at the Ambassador Hotel where we met the House of Chiefs from various states in Ghana. Among them was Nii Amoo Nakwah .II Obtobulum Measta oldest Chief of all the Chiefs in Ghana -92 years of age. He informed us of past history when slaves were leaving Ghana. Agreements were made between Portuguese and Dutch and the Chiefs to return these slaves within a given period of years, but they never did return. Seeing us now, he knew that we were some of those people he said that the time had come for black people's return. He also prayed for us. We met two Rastafarians from Jamaica, now residing in Ghana at the party. One was Brother Jackie Payne, a compositor working at the Guinea Press, Accra. The other Brother, a machinist working in Osageyfo Builders Brigade. 

Wednesday May 10: The Mission met the Osagyefo, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, President of the Republic of Ghana, at State House, Aeera. Dr. Nkrumah welcomed the delegation warmly and said that this meeting is an historical one; historic from the point of view that many people have tried to bring Africans from the West back home to the continent, but they have all failed. Marcus Garvey himself was sabotaged but our Mission could not be sabotaged now, because this was the opportune moments for negotiating resettlement. Continuing he said that Ghana has an area of over 100,000 square miles - population 7,000,000 which means that they had space. He said that he personally had no objection to this approach for repatriation; "Look upon yourselves as Africans and land was here for the asking." Dr. Nkrumah set up a special committee to meet us the next day at the Ministry of Establishment. 

Thursday May 11: The Mission met the special committee set up by Osagyefo. The Committee comprised of: (1) Dei Anang,, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (2) Sir Tisbu Darku, Chairman, Cocoa Marketing Board. (3) Enoch Okoh, Principal Private Secretary to the President. (4) Nana Kobina Nkersia, IV, p.h.d. Paramount Chief of Essi Kadu, Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Ambassador Extra- Ordiinary for the Ghana Government; (5) Hon. Tawia Admafio, Minister for Presidential Affairs. Finally, we resolved with the Committee that the delegation return to Jamaica, make a comprehensive Memorandum and declaration of the category, numbers, etc. of settlers. 

Thursday May 11: The Mission visited Tema Harbour, the home of the Black Star Line, 20 miles from Aeera. 

Friday May 12: Visited a botanical garden and rest house. We were given some seeds to suck, which made everything eaten after taste sweet. Saturday May 13: The Mission visited the Museum at Aeera. 

Monday May 15:11.59 p.m. The Mission left Ghana for Liberia. LIBERIA Tuesday May 16: The Mission arrived at Robertsfield Airport, Liberia by P.A.A. 1.00 a.m. We stayed at the Dueor Palace Hotel in Monrovia the Capital, 50 miles from Robertsfield. We drove through miles of Firestone rubber plantations on our way to the hotel. 

Wednesday May 17: We met the Secretary of State in his office. He greeted the delegation warmly and said that Liberia ever since the Republic was founded, had existing immigration laws, which allowed for people of African descent from the West Indies and elsewhere to settle here. He spoke highly of Marcus Garvey and his works. In the evening the Mission was invited to a Ball at the state house hall, Monrovia. 

Friday May 19: The Mission paid a visit to President Tubman's private farm about 90 miles from Monrovia. He showed us his zoo which contained lions, leopards, elephants, ostrich, snakes, hippopotamus, deers, porcuupines and other animals. He held a dinner at Coo Coo's Nest, a countryside restaurant in our honour. President Tubman asked the Rastafarian, Brethren to bless the table. The brethren replied with the prayers, "Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God". During the course of the dinner the President asked for information concerning the Rastafarian Movement. We defined our spiritual conceptions to him. He finally said that Liberia was open to all people of African descent, whether they said Rastafari is God or not.

Sunday May 21, 2.05 p.m.: The Mission left Liberia by Air Liban for Freetown, Sierra Leone. SIERRA LEONE 

Sunday May 21, 4.05 p.m.: The Mission arrived in Sierra Leone and was met at the Queen Elizaabeth II Quay, Freetown, by representatives of Government. 

Monday May 22: The Mission met the Prime Minister, Dr. Sir Milton Margai (an old man of 66 years with faculties 25 years). He was filled with delight to see us and welcomed us warmly. The Prime Minister said that Sierra Leone was founded for the slaves emancipation in Britain, America and the West Indies and in the 17th Century Britain bought a portion of land in Sierra Leone for the repatriation of slaves. Continuing the Prime Minister said that in 1778 over 200 black people were brought back from the West to Sierra Leone, and help to build the Capital of Sierra Leone, now called Freetown. He stated that his Government was young, having just got independence, so he would have to settle down. 

Tuesday May 23: We visited Njala Agricultural Centre and Training College. Pineapples were sold for 1d. per pound, grapefruits for 4d. per doz. We bought Palmwine along the way for 2d. per quart. Wednesday May 24: We visited the Marampa iron ore mines and met with a Mission from the U.A.R. also touring the mines. 

Friday May 26: The Mission was invited to the Premier's Residence where a party was held in honour of the U.A.R. and the Back-to-Africa Mission. On 

Monday May 29, the Mission was scheduled to leave by air for Dakar, Senegal. The plane developed engine trouble and the departure was postponed. We stayed at the Rest House. Tuesday May 30, 9:30 a.m.: The Mission left by Air France for Dakar, Senegal. We stayed at the Hotel N'gor. We departed Dakar for Lisbon. We spent three days in Lisbon, Portugal at the Avenida Palace Hotel. 

June 2, Friday: The Mission left Lisbon by Avianca Aircraft for Dakar, Rico, via Santa Maria, Azores. 

Saturday June 3, 7:30 a.m. The Mission arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico. We stayed there until 12:30 p.m. and departed by B.W.I.A. for Palisadoes, Kingston, Jamaica and arrived at 2:45 p.m. at Palisadoes Airport. The Mission was met at the Airport by Hon. Williams Seivright, Minister of Home Affairs and other Government Representatives, who welcomed the delegation back. There was a tremendous welcome prepared for us by members of Back- to-Africa Movements, including Rastafarian Brethren, U.N.I.A., Ethiopian World's Federation and others. There were about 5,000 persons with banners flags, singing and shouting with joy as the Mission Members landed in their robes. 





[To] The Hor. N. W. Manley, q.c.,

Premier of Jamaica,
Ministry of Development,
Kingston [Jamaica]

Dear Premier,

The unofficial "Back to Africa" Mission to Africa sponsored by your Government traveled inside five African States and had talks with the Heads of each State about "their migration policies and the possible movement of persons from this island to settle in those countries". The Mission found in all the territories a ready acceptance of the principle of "repatriation of Africans living abroad, to the ancestral land", as it was enunciated by the delegates on the Mission. Since the Mission was not empowered to enter into commitments with these African States, their governments so as to deal their readiness to enter into discussions with your government so as to deal with the mechanics of future migrations. The Mission told the African governments that it did not believe it would be the policy of your government to burden their governments with all the finical requirements of any such migration.

Delegates on the Mission were Messers. Filmore Alveranga, Douglas Mack and Mortimer Planner of the Rastafarian Movement; Mr. Westmore Blackwood of the Universal Negro Improvement Association; Dr. M. B. Douglas of the Afro-Caribbean League; Mr. Z. Munroe Scarlett of the Afro-West Indian Welfare League.

Serving as advisers to the Mission were Dr. L. C. Leslie, medical practitioner who also acted as leader of the Mission; and Mr. Victor Reid, journalist and author.

The Mission found that the skills of such Jamaican artisans as carpenters, masons, mechanics were generally of a higher order than the African, and that there was a shortage of artisans in these States.

The Mission found that food production in most of the countries was (1) low and/or (2) often lacked variety. All of these countries, although lying in the tropical belt, were still importing sugar, but Ethiopia has a sugar factory turning out over 40,000 tons a year. The Mission found a desire, in the territories visited, for three departments of skilled immigrants:

(a) Professional and technical

(b) Artisans

(c) Farmers.

The African hosts to the Mission all observed that persons entering Africa in any migration scheme should do so with the intention of becoming permanent residents in the country, and not as transients. The question of citizenship would present no difficulty, they pointed out, since special arrangements would be made in this connection. But the matter of assimilation would be of prime importance and it was recommended that this be considered for special study on both sides. On almost every occasion it was a point for earnest conversation that centuries of exposure to western ideas and customs must tend to modify Jamaicans (and all the black people of the western hemisphere) into a way of life dissimilar to the African. Impatience with the African's traditions and customs, or too hard a try to "bring him into line" would wreak the finest efforts of the scheme. It could also operate the other way around.

It was therefore strongly submitted by some members of African governments that an advance "goodwill corps" from both sides, Jamaica and the African States, should be sent into the countries of source and destination, to study and to teach.

Commencing at Ethiopia where we remained for one week, the Mission went, in turn, to Nigeria (2 weeks), Ghana (1 week), Liberia (6 days) and Sierra Leone (1 week). Prior to this, on our way from Jamaica, we spent two days in New York and one week in London. Altogether, the Mission was away for 61 days. At all points, the courtesy and welcome was outstanding. In Ethiopia, the Emperor presented each member of the Mission with a gold medal and instructed that all expenses incurred in the country (including hotel bills) be paid by his government. The Abuna (or Archbishop) of the Ethiopia Orthodox State Church also received the Mission

and presented each member with a complete Ethiopia national costume. The Abuna, in making the presentation said that he did not only give the robes to the Mission as gifts, but that they should all know themselves to be Ethiopians. At Freetown, in Sierra Leone, medals were also presented to the Mission by the Mayor and Council.

In Nigeria, members of the Mission were also each presented with a complete national costume by the Governor General, Dr. Nnamdi Aziliwe, and twice was received by him at Government house.

The week that the Mission was in Ghana was also the occasion of the state visit by President Sukarno of Indonesia. However, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah nonetheless twice received the Mission, first in the official talks and again as his guest at a private entertainment put on for the Indonesian President.

The Mission was also the dinner guest of the President of Liberia, Mr. William VS. Tubman at his private lodge outside Monrovia after our official talks in his office.

In Sierra Leone, Dr. the Hon. Sir Milton Margai, the Prime Minister, also entertained the Mission and a visiting trade mission from the United Arab Republic at a reception at the state residence which was attended by his Cabinet, government officials, the diplomatic corps, and prominent persons in the country.

Of particular significance, the Mission considers, was the enthusiasm with which the African states marked this first serious exertion in a hundred years to activate the back-to-Africa idea cherished in many countries. The Mission found in Africa, former West Indian, Brazilian, Mexican and American black nationals whose ancestors had been taken to Brazil, Mexico, the U.S. and the West Indies as slaves. The comment from these and from African statesmen was laudatory at the boldness and penetration with which the Jamaica government had tackled the idea.

One of the problems that should be investigated by the Jamaica government is the matter of land tenure. An example is in some areas where lands are vested in the tribal chiefs. However, at various countries where this situation holds, the Mission was assured that changes in these "native laws and customs" were contemplated so that the Central governments would have the authority to deal with purchases and so on. 

The Mission invited all the heads of state to visit Jamaica, and the invitiation’s were accepted. The Mission also suggested the exchange of students between all the countries visited and the West Indies and the suggestion was accepted in each instance. 

The Report which follows turns on discussions which were held not only with government officials but also with private citizens. 

The Mission is grateful for the opportunity afforded them to take part in this historic event and trusts that the results anticipated will be forthcoming. 


Our first contact with those sections of the continent of Africa towards which the Mission looked for "the possible movement of persons........ to settle", was Ethiopia. We arrived there on Sunday April 16.

We were met at the Addis Ababa airport with every courtesy by officials of the Foreign Ministry led by Ato Getaneh Haile-Miriam, Chief of the English and Commonwealth Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and were put up at the Ghion Hotel, one of Addis Abab's finest hotels. Lidj Ayele-Work Abebe, a senior officer of the Ministry, was detailed to look after the members of the Mission during their stay in Ethiopia.

Slated for us were meetings with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Interior, Commerce and Industry, Agriculture, and National Community Development. At each of these meeting, our reasons for visiting Ethiopia were related by the Leader of the Mission, Dr. Lesile, and further supplemented by remarks from other delegates. We were given very attentive and obviously sympathetic hearings by the Ministers who assured us that our proposals would received their active attention.

While we awaited the summons from the Emperor, we were enabled by the attention of the government to see as much of the country, its institutions and life as was possible. Accordingly we made visits to such places as the famous Co-operative Farm at Awasa, Her Imperial Majesty's Handicraft and Technical School, the Debre Birhan Community Centre, the Point Four Farm at Gimma, Wonji Sugar Estate; such works as the Koka Dam and to Shashemani, the land the Emperor gave about 10 years ago for people of African origins domiciled outside the continent and who desired to return. Much talk and thinking has been directed to Shashemani by people in the back-to-Africa movements in Jamaica and we'll discuss it later in the Report. The Mission went by air to Gimma to see the coffee plantation there.

We were received by the Emperor in one of his palaces at Addis Ababa on Friday April 21. He welcomed the members of the Mission as "brothers, of one blood and race". The purpose of the Mission was explained by Dr. Leslie. In his reply, the Emperor said that Ethiopia would always be open to people of African origin who lived in the West and who desired to return.

It had been explained to him that this was an unofficial Mission, although sponsored by the Jamaica government, and the Emperor asked that a delegation of experts be sent from Jamaica to discuss the various facets of migration. His Majesty also hoped we would "send the right people". His Majesty also expressed eagerness for an exchange of students and scholars between his country and the West Indies and said he would instruct the Minister of Education to instantly explore the situation.

At the conclusion of the Audience, the members of the Rastafarian group on the delegation presented His Imperial Majesty with the following gifts: 

More to come....



The Ethiopian World Federation, Local Number One, Inc
telephone: 718-277-1547
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 40-1167, Brooklyn, NY 11240-1167