The end of Afropessimism and their-story: Rastafari as ethos
Afropessimism is a programming developed through the global and hegemonic structures of white supremacy. As theorists of African liberation, Rastafari deems it necessary to focus on the destruction of “Babylon” or oppressive Western modernity. The movement offers an important African diasporan voice of Afro-optimism that has been variously suppressed and disregarded. In this context of metanarratives of Afropessimism, deemed “History” or what Marley (1989) calls “His-tories,” Jamaica is offered as an important case study of how the immanence of white supremacy has been negotiated in a British ex-colony, known for African Resistance. My objective is that of foregrounding theoretical solutions proffered by Rastafari, displaying continuity rather than rupture, critical consensus rather erratic action, and culture rather than politics as a way of demonstrating self-affirmation and sovereignty. The SARS COVID-19 global pandemic “moment” becomes a backdrop to engage with this Black redemptive mission or Rastafari as ethos.
KEYWORDS: Afropessimism; Babylon; SARS COVID-19; reparations; I-story; Rastafari as method
Jahlani A. H. Niaah holds a PhD in Cultural Studies and lectures Rastafari Studies in the Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. Niaah is actively engaged with working on the issues of African retentions, Reparation for African Slavery and the phenomenon of Rastafari repatriation to Ethiopia. Niaah has coedited three books and published in leading journals in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Europe. He has recently completed his much-anticipated book Lamb’s Bread: Rastafari and Ganja in Jamaica, (forthcoming) the UWI Press.