Though her grandfather, reggae legend Bob Marley, died three years before she was born, Donisha Prendergast can feel his spirit with her wherever she goes.
“I’ve felt his spirit, I hear his music all the time so I feel like I know him,” said the 26-year-old, who dropped by Oakdale Community Centre at Jane Street and Grandravine Drive Wednesday, Aug. 3 to promote her soon to be released documentary Rasta: A Soul’s Journey. “Making the documentary helped me become a little closer to his mission. He was a freedom fighter, not just a musician.”
The documentary, which was shot over four years in eight countries and will be released in the fall, explores the Rastafari movement and aims to dispel myths often associated with it.
Prendergast, who spoke to some 60 local youths, said a Rasta is someone who does the work – not just “the braids, the marijuana, the red, green and gold (flag).”
“We are about truth, rights and justice,” she said. “The documentary is my journey as a young woman and Bob Marley’s granddaughter, discovering the roots of Rastafari. It was an eye opening experience. I was watching myself evolve as a Rasta woman and not just Bob Marley’s granddaughter being Rasta. It’s not just a black movement. I don’t want to picture a world without Rastafari. It’s created so much balance in an otherwise unbalanced world.”
Before filming, Prendergast, who calls Jamaica and Miami home, said she thought the movement was all about reggae music, peace and love.
“As I was travelling, I realized there is so much work to be done, truth and rights work,” she said. “I think the biggest misconception is that people wear dreadlocks and do bad things and don’t have work to do. I hope the documentary makes people realize it’s OK to reevaluate your life and challenge the things you thought at certain points in your life.”
The Rastafari movement began in the Jamaican slums in the 1920s and 30s. Some Rastafarians see Rasta more as a way of life than a religion. The Rastafarian lifestyle usually includes ritual use of marijuana, avoidance of alcohol, the wearing of one’s hair in dreadlocks and vegetarianism.
The movement is named for Ras Tafari Makonnen, who was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia in 1930.
“It’s a great day,” said Phil Edwards of the community recreation program at Oakdale Community Centre, who dug out his Bob Marley T-shirt especially for the occasion. “(Prendergast) can speak directly to the youth, the youth have heard Bob Marley’s music and have been affected by the culture.”
By Fannie Sunshine – article