A global and conscious movement to create harmonious relationships within the family structure and society at large is taking root following the recent launch of the Ubuntu Rastafari Cultural Center and Bookstore.
Located on Jeremie Street, Castries, the Ubuntu Rastafari Cultural Center and Bookstore was officially launched on Sunday, December 19, 2021 and will spearhead various uplifting initiatives, including justice and healing.
Ras Dr. Wayne Rose, general secretary of the Ubuntu Rastafari Cultural Center and Bookstore, says the center is becoming necessary after decades of positive activism from community members in St. Lucian Ras Tafari in the areas of holistic healing and African identity, and against systemic victimization of Rastafarians by government agents. He believes the time has come for Rastafarians to have a seat at social and economic decision-making tables and to be treated equally and fairly.
âWe are saying that, post-colonialism, between the 1960s and 1980s, when the governments of the Caribbean achieved ‘independence’, they in turn turned against members of the Ras Tafari community who were considered very different and not in line with the new philosophy that was being established, âsaid Ras Dr Rose. âThe justice and healing component of this mission is to identify those atrocities committed against members of the Ras Tafari family and then say to the family, ‘Work with us to create and facilitate a space and an opportunity for us to reconcile in as a family. “‘”
Ras Dr. Rose cited the Mount Gimie raid that took place in Saint Lucia in September 1977, in which the community of Ras Tafari was targeted. Part of the argument for this raid, he said, was that there were bad apples and bad actors. Despite the bad apples and the cast, he said the ignorance of the Rastafarian movement at the time also played a major role.
“Let’s say within our Adventist community, for example, which is part of our good framework of communities, or within our Catholic or Pentecostal communities, there are bad apples and bad actors,” he explained. . âYou don’t target an entire community because of the bad apples and the actors, you just go after the bad apples or the actors. Unfortunately, entire communities of Ras Tafari have been targeted and ostracized on the basis of individuals labeled “bad actors”. This is not fair and has tarnished the reputation of the entire Caribbean family.
Ras Dr. Rose, who is also an adjunct lecturer at Jackson State University in Mississippi, USA, noted that Rastafarians have retained the African identity that has been battered from enslaved Africans by multiple mechanisms and systems. . Through him, the Right Honorable Priest Kailash Leonce, the UBUNTU Cultural Center and other advocates of Ras Tafari, African knowledge and other belief systems are manifested in practice.
He said Rastafarians have always cared about a healthy lifestyle, our environment and a positive portrayal of our African descent. He also noted other important contributions made by Rastafarians, including their defense of the medicinal and therapeutic properties of marijuana, which is now a multi-billion dollar industry; music and cultural retention; and a new African spirituality.
Ras Dr. Rose encourages individuals and civil society organizations to use the books and research services provided at the Ubuntu Rastafari Cultural Center and Bookstore. The Center, he said, is also open to building relationships with other organizations focused on positive and meaningful results.
For many years now, the Right Honorable Priest Kailash Leonce has been educating Saint Lucians on the need for healthy eating habits and a life in general. As one of the main strengths of the Ubuntu Rastafari Cultural Center and Bookstore and a founding member of the JAH JAH NI Secretariat, he sees his vision of expanding this awareness come true. Unsurprisingly, there’s also a Food of 7 Ital Hotspot restaurant on the ground floor that sells healthy, authentic Italian food and drink.
About 90% of the books that will be on display in the bookstore will be for sale, of which about 10% are part of a âSpecial Collections Unitâ for people who wish to research in-store. A small contribution will be charged.
The Center is an investment in the future of young minds, said Ras Dr Rose. In addition to having quality books, the Center will also host book readings and dramatizations, providing a safe and creative space for all, especially young people, to participate in its Africa-focused calendar of activities and the Caribbean. In fact, the Center will host a series of activities from January to March 2022, including study groups that will focus on Caribbean and spiritual literature.
âIt can help orient young people to the glory of literature and to find themselves in that glory,â said Ras Dr. Rose. âWe want young people to see themselves as heroes and heroines of their own stories and not just look at the framing of whiteness. Europeans are part of our family, but we cannot be satisfied with their supervision; we have to see âWakandaâ and âBlack Pantherâ and all these other dimensions of ourselves in greatness. “
âUbuntuâ is an Nguni Bantu term meaning âhumanityâ, but is often translated as âI am because we areâ or âI am because you areâ. It is on this basic principle that Ras Dr. Rose believes that people of different social classes and religious affiliations should attempt to bridge the gap to do good for all.
âWe are here as a resource,â he said. âWe’re not trying to upset your basket. Whatever socio-religious framing you already have, keep it. But make sure it is pegged to kindness. This is the object of the Ubuntu movement. We will help shape and frame the good and the new. We’re not saying everyone has to be Ras Tafari. What we are saying is that it is time for ALL the right people to know and play their part in this time and space. UBUNTU !!!