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Mansions of Rastafari Meet in Siparia

Rastafarians give praise to Jah in the tabernacle
Rastafarians give praise to Jah in the tabernacle

TriniView.com Reporters
Event Date: November 22, 2009
Posted: December 17, 2009

On November 22, 2009, despite the current focus of many being the 2009 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, there was a space set out in Siparia for various Mansions of Rastafari to interact, reason and to address some of the main issues concerning the interests of Rastafari as well as the interests of African people in general. Present were members of the various houses, namely the Bobo Shanti, Nyabinghi, 12 Tribes and African Unity.

Rastas from north, south and central journeyed to Siparia, located in South-West Trinidad to display solidarity with members within the community whose views differ in certain respects but whose underlying principles are the same. Some, particularly those who met at various points in Trinidad beginning at Woodford Square participated in a "Rasta Rally" where they sang, chanted and beat drums until reaching Siparia. Members of the Bobo Shanti house sat in the tray of a truck while other members followed in a van or with their own vehicles. Some had come earlier on and assisted in final preparations for the evening ahead: cooking food, cleaning the tabernacle, placing chairs and other general preparatory arrangements or participated in reasonings with each other.

This meeting was regarded as a critical one for several reasons, one of them being that since Queen Elizabeth II of England was scheduled to arrive in Trinidad for CHOGM, members of the Rastafari community, particularly the Bobo Shantis wanted former enslavers to be reminded of the urgency for repatriation and reparation. In this regard, a book was passed around to collect signatures of persons who supported these aims. This book was to be presented to the Queen by the Bobo Shanti's when she visited Memorial Park to lay a wreath in memory of soldiers who fought in the two World Wars.

Another aim was to reassure members that despite slight differences in philosophy that the aim was to promote oneness in livity, to assist each other in coping with the trials of living in the Western world and to try to reclaim their glorious past outside of Babylon.

As the sun began to set, several members of the various mansions engaged in brief interviews with Triniview.com explaining their connections with Rastafari and how they saw themselves in the current scheme of things. Many indicated that they became disenchanted with mainstream society and wanted a way of life that reflected their African identity. Many also told of their wanting to return home to Africa or to Ethiopia/Ithiopia, which they say Africa was called before colonialism.

As night came, members of the hosting mansion, Nyabingi, led a Binghi session inside their tabernacle. Drums were beaten, scriptural chants echoed and Ethiopian flags waved. The massive gathering numbering in the hundreds all observed the scene in the partially open tabernacle, even if most sat outside.

The night ended with a reasoning headed by representatives of the different mansions to discuss the important business of Rastafari people about the issues that they face and ways in which they could continue to come together to engender change. More initiatives are planned to foster a greater sense of cooperation and dialogue between the different houses that comprise the Rasta movement.

Mansions of Rastafari Meet in Siparia in pictures:

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