Tag Archives: donisha prendergast

RasTa MOVIE POSTER | Adam Jarvis, designer

By ADAM JARVIS

When I was approached by Len Henry of Fashcam to work on a logo for a featured length documentary about RasTafari – I was very honoured. Although, I am not a Rasta myself, I was born in the Caribbean, and was brought up to respect people of all colours and creeds. Working closely with Len and Corwin Hall of Yaudie, we developed a logo that captured the spirit of the movement.

This project presented a grand opportunity for me to educate myself on the religion. What I was not expecting, was to reach such artistic depths within myself. It pushed me to create something, then elevate it into a “work of art”.

A large bulk on my creativity ends up here on Vectorvault. It is my lover letter to vector art and my favourite software Adobe Illustrator. But this project required me to activate the Photoshop side of my brain as well.

With countless layers and textures, this poster finally came to fruition. “It” let me know when “it” was finished.

As a Creative Director with over 16 years behind me, I can honestly say that this project was far more enjoyable than any “ad” I have ever done. I enjoyed the process of reading faces and revealing the story through images…

THE JOURNEY OF A SOUL
Donisha Prendergast, Grand Daughter of the legendary Rita and Bob Marley is on a quest. To discover the “Roots of RasTafari”. It inspired the film’s branding imagery. – What a great “client brief”.

A GROWING MOVEMENT
The poster image took on the shape of an organic tree. It was built using the faces of Rasta. The historical icons and everyday people who keep the religion alive around the world. Donisha travels introduced her to many faces – each with a story.

THE ART
The colours and shapes were all pulled together from various stock sources. Including Vectorvault’s own collection of RasTa themed vector art. Including a series of drips and splatters that I used to enhance the branches and dreadlocks. Combined with stunning production photos, and a little creativity – an image was born.

………..

Be sure to pick-up your own copy, unsigned or better yet, signed by Donisha, at RasTa’s FESTIVAL LOUNGE, 221 Yonge St. (Sept. 6-19)

NOW Magazine: Marley Vibe

By SAIRA PEESKER

If Bob Marley were alive today, he probably wouldn’t be making music. That’s what his granddaughter says anyway.

There’s just too much other work to do in the world, Donisha Prendergast tells an eager crowd packed closely around her in a grassy patch between the library and the outdoor pool at Alexandra Park on Friday night, August 5.

Promising a dialogue on youth, spirituality and the much misunderstood Rastafari, the charismatic actor and activist addresses a mostly adult group and speaks of her grandfather as a Rasta first and foremost.

If Marley were alive today, he’d be focused on doing positive work in the community, she says. “There’s lots of good singers.”

In his day, she points out, the reggae king was spreading Rastafari through a newly popular form of music, but now the movement has reached all corners of the world.

Prendergast, who was born after her grandfather’s death, is here promoting a soon-to-be-released film, RasTa: A Soul’s Journey, in which she visits Rastafarian communities in Toronto, Ethiopia, Israel and South Africa, as well as other cultures that share some of its practices, like the dreadlocked, pot-smoking Hindu mystics of India.

Anyone looking to get a straight answer about the basics of the movement is out of luck at the Scadding Court event, an unstructured, two-hour Q&A. Audience questions jump from racial profiling by police to the cultural significance of the Queen of Sheba.

Asked to explain the culture, Prendergast says, “That is your decision. You must know when the time comes, and you must know what it reveals.

“Rastafari represents African-ness. There is no other movement in the world that shows Africa is the way forward right now and identifies an African king and an African queen. If you take Rastafari out of this world, then the colours, the dreadlocks, the music, Bob Marley, all of that is gone. You understand?”

The idea of sacrifice and public service comes up again as she traces her own evolving understanding of what it means to be a Rasta.

“It represents love, unity, peace, sacrifice, service and justice for all. And inspiration. And we are all divine beings. The only way I feel whole is if I do service,” says Prendergast, who helped start a recycling company in Jamaica, where such services are uncommon.

“I grew up Rasta, but it wasn’t until I began this journey that I realized I wasn’t Rasta.”

The film’s Toronto-based executive producer, Patricia Scarlett, says she first became aware of Rastafari’s reach while travelling the world for her job at TVOntario.

“It has spread to cultures that are not in any way connected to Africa or Jamaica,” Scarlett tells NOW. “There’s something in the message as spread through reggae that people relate to. It’s really a reinterpretation of the Old Testament.”

While it’s not clear how many Rastas there are in Toronto, Stats Can figures for 2001 put the number at 415. Beliefs vary among different Rastafarian communities, but many believe in the Bible and see Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I as a reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Selassie (emperor until 1974) was highly regarded on the world stage for bringing Ethiopia into the UN and writing his country’s first constitution.

Many are vegetarians and adhere to an Ital diet: food that comes from the earth, without preservatives or other chemicals. Some also avoid salt unless it comes from the ocean.

But while ganja smoke may be one of the few things outsiders associate with Rastafari, Prendergast mentions it only once, while encouraging people to check out Jamaica’s inaugural Manifesto Festival in November, a collaboration with Toronto’s Manifesto crew.

“There will be lots of concerts, lots of life, reggae music, greenery, everything nice,” she says.

Link to article

InsideToronto.com:
Learning about Rasta movement from filmmaker

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

JamaicanXpress: Bob Marley Granddaughter,
Star of film ‘RasTa’, coming to Caribana

By CLIFTON JOSEPH

Donisha Prendergast, the granddaughter of Bob and Rita Marley, and the star of the upcoming documentary film “RasTa: a Soul’s Journey”, is coming to Toronto to headline a float at Caribana promoting the movie and to do a series of presentations and youth events.

The 26 year-old whose iconic grandfather died before she was born, is the daughter of Sharon Marley of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, grew up in the U.S., studied acting at Howard University and immersed herself in an acting career before becoming a devotee of the Rastafarian faith in 2003.

While in Toronto, in addition to headlining the “RasTa” float at the Caribana Parade, Prendergast will appear at a number of other events, including presenting at the Irie Music Festival on Friday July 29 and again at the Festival’s “Tribute to Bob Marley” on Sunday July 31; meet with youth groups and appear on a panel about Rastafari and “green” living.

“Rasta: a Soul’s Journey”, produced by Toronto’s Scarlett Media, helmed by Patricia Scarlett, which has been described as “one young woman’s global journey to explore Rastafari, the spiritual legacy of her grandparents, Rita and Bob Marley”. Filming took Prendergast to eight countries, including Jamaica, Canada, the U.S., Ethiopia, Israel, India and South Africa, on a personal spiritual search for the history and practice, international popularity and continuing impact of Rastafari.

The JamaicanXpress newspaper caught up with Donisha Prendergast for an exclusive interview, on/the/phone from Miami, where she was filming interviews with her grandmother, Rita Marley, and her uncle, Damian Marley, for “RasTa”.

She was forthcoming, thoughtful, energetic and enthusiastic about the film and her trip to Toronto. We asked her about the iconic importance of her grandfather Bob Marley, and she told us that:

“His place in history has been made clear in his music and the effects he has had on the social consciousness of people. He’s a rebel but a rebel with a cause and he is like David, the man of Psalms to me in this time. If I had to look at the Bible I would say that my grandfather was a kind of David figure and he and his message stands today in the hearts of the people, because in each heart there is a song.”

The JamaicanXpress also wanted to know how she was able to filter through all the reggae and Rastafari iconic imagery of Bob Marley, to get to an understanding of him as flesh-&-blood, a man, her grandfather. The granddaughter didn’t jester with her answer.
“Through my grandmother, mainly,” she told us, “because she didn’t look at him like an International superstar, like everybody. To her he was just Robbie, this youth that she and him fell in love. And he didn’t come from any great social circumstance. In fact I just interviewed her, to be included in the documentary, and just learning more and more about him, like when she and him first started to court, he used to sleep on a door in Sir Coxcone Dodd’s studio, and it was she who let him in her home so he could sleep on her floor in the nighttime and sneak out early in the morning before her auntie would wake up, and it was no sexual relations or anything like that, it was just out of respect for her brother, as my g/mother said that even though he was her husband he was still her brother, you know, so its through her stories, her reflections, her memories of him that I am able to see him as a man, because there’s no one else that can tell the life-story of Bob Marley like my grandmother. She’s the closest one to him that is still living today”.

Prendergast told us that her introduction to “RasTa”, the film, coincided with her own interests in doing a documentary about Africa, after her moving experiences with her grandmother’s foundation’s annual trip to Africa, in South Africa, where after a speech about honoring young girls, she was besieged by a deluge of questions from moved young girls about what else she was going to be doing. When she got back to the U.S., she decided that acting wasn’t/her/thing and started looking at doing a documentary on the negative portrayal of Africa. That’s when Patricia Scarlett, of Scarlett Media, called her.

“Patricia contacted me, saying that she just got back from Jamaica, shooting a film on Rastafari called “Rastafari Then and Now”, and she has some ideas to do a global film. Then she told me her history and connection to Rastafari. She was in love with a Rastaman and was drawn to the philosophy, but before they were to be married, he died. Earlier he had told her to do a film to teach the world the Rastafari philosophy that he had taught her, and it was so touching, and reminded me so much of my grandmother, and the sense of duty. She was left with this duty to carry the message all over the world, after my grandfather passed away; and it just resonated in my spirit. I was immediately drawn to the project and we didn’t know exactly how we were going to go about doing it. All we knew was that we had to go around the world; and the documentary just evolved into what it is. It started out with the working title of “In search of Rastafari” and eventually evolved into “Rasta: A Soul’s Journey” because it’s a journey inside of you, it’s a road you have to trod yourself. You can’t look to somebody else and know. Who feels it knows it, as Bob say and now I understand”.

Prendergast passionately told us about growing up in the atmosphere of reggae and Rastafari and how she eventually went through a personal transformation.

“I just automatically assumed I was Rasta. It wasn’t like an experience I thought I had to go through. I didn’t really realize that there was so much history in Rastafari. All around the world there are people who see Rastafari and reggae as something solely connected to Bob Marley, and then because I am his granddaughter, it’s almost like I don’t look any further, but like what my mother said when I did decide to locks my hair in 2003, ‘this vibration bring positive and negative energy’; and when I did start to feel that imbalance in my life I really started to realize that there is something deeper than just this surface thing, to Rastafari. Then I started asking questions of the elders, and sit at their feet and listen while them talking, and you listen to their reasonings, their experiences, the pain that they went through, and you hear that life is Rastafari levity. And it’s so much more than these colors that you wear, than the dread-locking your hair, so much more than the ganja that you smoke, and wanting to say that you are free and that you are Rasta. No! Its about building and establishing a reality in people, letting them know, yow, you worth something, you come from strong lineage, you is somebody, you is an African and we have a King to identify in Haile Selassie I the First, so look no further for identity, because it is here in the present state of Rastafari”

We also wanted to know how the experience of working on the documentary has changed and charged her, personally.

“Rastafari is a call to action, that is what I have come to overstand from the experience of this documentary. It has totally changed me. It has put things into perspective, like my grandmother says “everyone is on a journey, but who is on the mission?” and that is what I am coming to understand now, “when does your journey become a mission?”
After a pause, she continued, “When you become exposed to certain truths then your journey becomes a mission and you can even decide to do something, or not, or just continue journeying. Since I been back off of this journey, I have been on my mission in Jamaica doing a lot of social programs in different inner/city-communities. I have also been traveling to different schools in the region—I went to Trinidad recently—doing presentations on Rastafari, and to ask questions and also to give myself up in that space for the youth to ask me questions, because I realize that everybody is searching, everybody is trying to understand what the truth is.”
With so many people still searching and journeying for truth, she told us about meeting up with some white dreads in Israel, and how they came to the faith of Rastafari.

“When I went to Israel I asked them “how come you a white man with freckles and orange hair. How come you are Rasta? And he said, ‘You know the first thing that brought Rastafari to us was reggae music through Bob Marley and others. Once the music came and we understood reggae music and that the thing of reggae music was to carry the passion of Rastafari, we embraced it. Because it was all very natural to us.’ And this was a white man talking, which goes to show that it goes so much deeper, and you know how you can study a book and study a book and one day you might be walking down the street and the book finally makes sense? That’s what Rastafari was to them, they told me.”

She was deeply moved doing this film, she says, and want people to let their guard down and come with an open mind to the film.
“This film will show people a true honest expression of my journey to understand what this thing called Rastafari is, and who I am, because I am Bob Marley’s granddaughter, yes, but what does that mean? Who was he beyond the music? What about Rastafari made him dedicate his life to it, and they took his life for it, for carrying this positive vibe around the world? It’s about answering serious questions like those. And sometimes they hurt. There’s a lot of pain I endured going through the documentary realizing certain truths, even coming to accept & understand that somebody did take my grandfather’s life. All my life I heard that he bucked his toe and so, but doing the film and traveling, I came to realize that there’s no way he could just up and dead so. I have come to realize the importance of his time lived and what he did and accomplished with that time. And also what my grandmother did, too. Many people don’t acknowledge her because she’s overshadowed by Bob Marley, but people should listen to her story to find out more about who Bob Marley was, and go beyond the fame. That is what this documentary will show, that at the root of it, we are all the same, looking for that same thing, truth, justice, happiness and love, one love”.

The JamaicanXpress also asked Prendergast to relate an experience doing the film that was mystic, and she was quick/with/it.
“We were in England”, she said forcefully, “and it was cold and raining and I had just done this interview where the guy was basically challenging me on Rasta and he wasn’t a Rasta. He wanted to talk about just the music and the politics, about the development of reggae music in the U.K., and how it was hooked up to the freedom struggles and politics that were happening there then, and after the interview I had so many questions running through my head about Rastafari and what am I doing with this documentary?

And then I hear my grandfather voice on the radio. The song just comes out, and I hear him say “Jah Live, children yeah, Jah Jah live, children, yeah”, and tears just came to my eyes. It was a real moment for me, and I don’t think anybody else in the bus realized what was happening, but when that happened, I just..just..just… the emotions came over me and the tears just started to run and it was if I could see him there with me, and that just gave me a strength.”

The JamaicanXpress also spoke with the film’s Brand/Manager Len Henry, who’s been on/board for the last two years of the film’s seven year journey. ”I came onboard to help position and package and handle the branding of the film”, he says, “Patricia’s been smart with the way she’s done it. I mean, she could have done it like the traditional indie-film, and just try and find five-cents, here-&-there and try to do a movie, which she has done, but she thought it was important to build awareness and an audience, at the same time, and it’s been a real pleasure recently going to different events like at Afro-Fest, where lots and lots of people already knew about the film. It shows that that approach is working. “

Acknowledging that plenty/plenty films have been made about Rastafari over the years, Henry insists that “Rasta: A Soul’s Journey” is different in scope, strategy and approach, and that it also has “so many things to say”.

“The prime aim of this film is to demystify Rastafari so that you don’t want to judge a book by its cover,” he told us, “You don’t always know what’s in somebody’s heart if you don’t understand what they are about. Donisha’s passion about being here is to share the message, words, history and legacy of where Rastafari has been and how it has touched the world broadly. And Patricia had a strategy of traveling the world and reaching out to all the countries that have influenced Rastafari. We went to India to talk to Sadhus, because that’s where the dreads and the ganja smoking came from, from the Indian indentured workers who came to Jamaica; to Israel and the Star of David, and where that fits in; to south Africa for the political; Ethiopia for the spiritual roots; and Canada for the multicultural, one love vibe. And to have Bob and Rita’s granddaughter right there, going on that journey and experiencing the history and present vibrations and going through her own changes in relation to fully understanding Rastafari. The film has a wide, deep, layered scope.”

According to Henry, the last bit of filming has been done, they’re layering and adding music and the final set of interviews, and they are gearing up for a momentous couple of months of “RasTa” activity. He went on to tell us about “…a special concert to celebrate the film’s release. After that the film will go to a number of festivals before its release theatrically at the end of the year, followed soon after by its television premiere on CityTV. ”

Henry says that the film’s Facebook page now has 25,000 members and hopes to have 40,000 by the film’s premiere in September, and that the float is designed to spread the awareness of the film. “The theme is “”one love/one world”, honoring the mansions of the faith that exist: Nyabinghi, Twelve Tribes of Israel, Orthodox Rastafari and Bobo Dreads. The float will honor all of those with banners and the colors and elements of Rastafari.

“RasTa” is directed by Stuart Samuels from Patricia Scarlett’s screenplay, written by Roger McTair, and produced by Patricia Scarlett, Marilyn Gray and Stuart Samuels.
For more information about the Caribana float, Donisha Prendergast itinerary in Toronto and about “RasTa”, the film, please contact www.rastaonline.ca

RasTa | Ethiopia

Locations Collage from RasTa is… ONE LOVE ONE WORLD
ING Café | Network Orange, 221 Yonge St.
Curator: Orla LaWayne Garriques

RasTa | Jamaica

Locations Collage from RasTa is… ONE LOVE ONE WORLD
ING Café | Network Orange, 221 Yonge St.
Curator: Orla LaWayne Garriques

RasTa | UK

Locations Collage from RasTa is… ONE LOVE ONE WORLD
ING Café | Network Orange, 221 Yonge St.
Curator: Orla LaWayne Garriques

RasTa | India

Locations Collage from RasTa is… ONE LOVE ONE WORLD
ING Café | Network Orange, 221 Yonge St.
Curator: Orla LaWayne Garriques

RasTa | South Africa

Locations Collage from RasTa is… ONE LOVE ONE WORLD
ING Café | Network Orange, 221 Yonge St.
Curator: Orla LaWayne Garriques

RasTa | Israel

Locations Collage from RasTa is… ONE LOVE ONE WORLD
ING Café | Network Orange, 221 Yonge St.
Curator: Orla LaWayne Garriques

RasTa | Canada

Locations Collage from RasTa is… ONE LOVE ONE WORLD
ING Café | Network Orange, 221 Yonge St.
Curator: Orla LaWayne Garriques

RasTa | USA

Locations Collage from RasTa is… ONE LOVE ONE WORLD
ING Café | Network Orange, 221 Yonge St.
Curator: Orla LaWayne Garriques

The TROD | The Narrative

Entrance to the Smithsonian Institute's "Discovering Rastafari exhibit | photo: Patricia Scarlett

The film unfolds as a personal odyssey that will challenge the often cartoon perception of Rastafarians, and focus on putting the story and the message of this movement in a personal as well as a global perspective.

Donisha’s film odyssey, therefore, is both personal and historical, as she balances revelations about Rastafari with her own self-discovery.

The vision of the film is to look at Rastafari from a global perspective—moving out from the more familiar images of Jamaica to the various ways in which this religion and this movement has moved beyond the tiny Caribbean Island, how the ways in which the message of Rastafarianism has manifested itself in diverse cultures, how the tenants of the religion are rooted in history and made relevant by contemporary issues. The film’s narrative will unfold as a voyage of discovery driven by an intense desire on the part of Donisha to both understand the past and make clear a meaning for the present.

The film stays focused on Donisha—as a Rasta woman, as a young convert—as she personally discusses and experiences first hand the ways in which this movement has spread around the world. Her questions, her knowledge informs the narrative, and her vibrant and inquisitive personality drives the fast-paced and youthful nature of the film.

Through Donisha we learn the history, the core values, the cultural impact of a religion that was inspired by history and propagated through the music of her grandfather, helping us find new spiritual meaning in a fast changing, chaotic world.

The aim of the film is bring the issues and message of Rastafari into a contemporary context, illustrating how the acceptance of Rasta in Canada is in mark contrast to other cultures.

The Canadian Rasta story is a message for the 21st century, of how prejudice is formed from misinformation and myths, and how the acceptance of cultural harmony is both the model of Canadian culture and the triumph of multiculturalism.

Mixing rare archive footage, driven by the infectious rhythm of the music, told through interviews and interactions of Donisha with elders, with young converts, looking for connections and traditions rooted in the past, and the beliefs of a movement dedicated to living in the present.

RasTa is filled with archival history, and brought to life through Donisha’s passion for knowledge and charismatic personality, as she takes us up close and personal with people and places that will help unlock the mysteries of this movement, pull back the veil of misunderstanding and allow all of us to share the journey and the knowledge of a young women in pursuit of personal truth and contemporary relevance.

RasTa converges music and meaning in new ways, making a religious and spiritual movement more accessible to young people, and more understandable to all of us.

Stuart Samuels, director/producer

The TROD | UK

On location in London at Bob Marley photographer, Dennis Morris' Reggae Rebel's Exhibition | photo: Sabriya Simon


London, UK — Donisha visits landmarks and communities, which would have been familiar to her grandfather. She visits with notable Rastafarians, business success, artists and personalities, who populate these spaces and communities today. Many are able to offer anecdotes of Bob Marley’s early presence London, early activism against racism and social unrest in the 70’s – hopes and dreams against the realities similar conditions in Jamaica. Rastafari provided a spiritual escape and source of black pride? These discussions are juxtaposed against black life today in London – observations on how things have changed and how they have not.

A Soul’s Journey | The Director’s Vision

Stuart Samuels, director | photo: Len D. Henry

RasTa A Soul’s Journey is a film odyssey undertaken by Bob Marley’s granddaughter, Donisha Prendergast.

Most of my previous documentaries deal with the relationship of popular culture and history. Music is a universal language, but the stories are local as well as global. This film is part of my documentary approach, taking global pop culture and through comparison and contrast and illuminate how different cultures and society deal with similar pop cultural phenomena.

Rasta and Bob Marley have a deep and continuing connection to Canadian and global culture. His music influence is truly local and global–worldwide.

RasTa presents a point of view documentary approach. By treating this movement and this journey in a global perspective, the film will be able to highlight what is unique about the way the story of Rasta and the influence of Marley play a role in Canadian and world culture.

The history of Rastafari and the influence of Marley in Canada stand in stark contrast to the way the movement and lifestyle have developed throughout the world.

Canada’s multi-cultural landscape, especially in Toronto, treats Rastafarians in a way that is significantly different from the “ghetto” like experiences in places like South Africa; the contentious issues surrounding the story of Rastafarians in Jamaica; the way it has developed and spread in the UK.

Showing the connection between Rasta and Hindu culture and Judaism, is part of the story of how Rasta has been accepted and flourishes in places like Toronto where connections between different ethnic groups and religions are part of the multi-cultural landscape.

Stuart Samuels
Director/Producer

The TROD | Ethiopia, Israel & South Africa

Jerusalem & Tel Aviv, Israel – Donisha visits with Rastafarians living in the Kibbutz Tze’eelim aka “Jamaica in the Desert”. She searches for the truths behind the Rastafarian references to the Star of David; in legends, which state that one of the 12 ancient Hebraic tribes may have been Black. She grapples with the Israeli struggle for their homeland vs her own Rastafarians desire for repatriation to Africa? Although the Rastafari livity in Israel is not a religious phenomena it is a value system espousing peace, love, unity and socialist elements that draws inspiration from the songs of Bob Marley.

Sheshemane, Ethiopia — Ethiopia is to Rastafarians what Mecca is to Muslims. Donisha visits Sheshemane, where many Rastafarians aspire to return. In 1948, Emperor Haile Selassie granted the land as a gesture of acknowledgement to Rastafarians. Few have actually made the journey and fewer still have settled there. Donisha explores this incongruity with some of the brethren now living in Sheshemane. If few Rastas have repatriated themselves physically, can ‘returning to Africa’ be a metaphysical state rather than geographical one?

Cape Town & Kynsna, South Africa — The Judah Square Rastafarian Community is one of the largest and most organized Rastafarian communities in South Africa. Judah’s Square is the venue for the annual Rastafarian Earth Festival. Donisha experiences, first hand, the effects of Reggae and the Rastafarian Movement on an international community. Her grandfather’s music often called attention to the political strife occurring during the Apartheid years in South Africa. How does the Rastafarian community in Kynsna come to the terms with the legacy of Apartheid?

The TROD | USA

Washington DC, USA — Donisha Prendergast visits the Smithsonian Institute’s DISCOVERING RASTAFARI exhibit. She reasons with curator, Jake Homiak about the roots and inspirations in the birth of Rastafari: Marcus Garvey; Emperor Haile Selassie; as well as her Grandfather, Bob Marley, and his role as a “major conduit” in the popularization of the philosophies of Rastafari around the world. This visit springboards her quest to travel to the various countries to learn more.

Our Ethiopia | “The JRDC School”

These films were produced with young people at the JRDC School in Shashemene – Ethiopia during Cafesociety.org digital workshops.

The JRDC School began with private lessons given to the children of the pioneers in Shashemene by Karl Hamilton and Bro. Donald Leach (Bro. Flippins) in their home during the 1970’s. Bro Karl Hamilton taught basic English, Math and Bible studies. This supplementary education continued at this level until 1997 when Bro. Teach Issachar arrived with plans to establish an official school. He started his operation in a zinc shed on the premises of the The Twelve Tribes of Israel headquarters in Shashemene.

The school soon outgrew the limited facilities there and was transferred to a building renovated through the initiative of Teach Issachar. There an Ethiopian Amharic teacher was added to the staff and with Sister Janet McLaughlin from Manchester, England and Brother Joseph Leach born on the Land to pioneer parents, coordinated a school program with Chemistry, Physics, Geography, Math and Biology.

With the support of the Shashemene Foundation, Inc. U.S.A. and other concerned individuals, a new building was added and the school rapidly grew to over 150 children and eight teachers by 2002. The school was soon incorporated under the Jamaican Rastafarian Development Community, as the first phase of its larger Shashemene Community Education Skills Training and Recreation Center project. A Board of Directors was created for this school consisting of all members of the Rastafarian community in Shashemene including: The Nyahbinghi Order, Bobo Shanti, Ethiopia World Federation (EWF), and Twelve Tribes of Israel (TTI) and other individual Rastafarians. The school has been appraised and certified by the Education Ministry of the Federal Democratic Government of Ethiopia as an indigenous NGO project. The operational budget of the school is approximately $25,000 US dollars annually. The school receives no government funding and relies totally on public support to finance its budget.

Become a RasTa STAR, support the JRDC School in Shashemene, Ethiopia. RasTa support will go toward helping the school meet its current mandate which includes: continuing to provide subsidized healthy meals, introducing a health program to investigate and improve the health status of its students, increasing sponsorships for the students’ education and implementing a planned expansion of staff and facilities to include Grades 9 and 10. The most important REWARD is that you cared enough to help advance someone’s potential by giving them an education – a gift that keeps on giving. Contact the production to help. … Continue →

The TROD…Jamaica

On location at Pinnacle with Rasta historian, Michael Boyd | photo: Sabriya Simon


Kingston & Pinnacle, Jamaica — While in Jamaica Donisha visits Pinnacle, the site of the first Rastafarian settlement. She travels to Trench Town, where her grandparents once lived. This trod helps her summarize what her faith means to her, and how it might be changing as the elder foot soldiers that worked to gain acceptance give way to younger men and women. Younger views about the movement are evolving in ways that are uncomfortable to the elders, who continue to shun all materials trappings and systems associated with Babylon.