• Wayne Rose


The Rastafari wombman has stood as, and remains a central figure within the Rastafari Movement. However, in the early days her efforts were focused on her role within the family structure. She existed silently alongside her Kingman and youths, as an Ethiopic image of womanhood. Her charge was fated afore her existence by that of her ancestors. The Rastafari wombman, like Naomi and Ruth in Prophesy, struggled for survival in a patriarchal environment.

The Colonial worldview perceived her as the lesser of the two beings and this interpretation, though contrary, flowed into Rastafari Livity transcending even iritical boundaries. Thus, the Rastafari wombman was exempted from matters of governance or Theocratic assemblies. Again, her role had been affirmed and it befitted her to assume the position.

The early Matriarchs within the movement like Mama Lily, Dawta Baby I, Ma shanti, Nana Farika, Mama Bubbles, Mama Fyah, and many more managed to in essence, free themselves from these patriarchal “Isms” and create arenas where they had a voice. Not only did they advocate for the Rastafari Wombman, they advocated for the movement and for African Liberation. Dawta Baby I can be seen and heard at Nyahbingi Ises burning down colonialism and chanting “Repatriation now”. This fire caught on fast and in the 1980’s in England, The Rastafarian Women’s Organization was formed and was aimed at improving relationships with the British public and providing educational, cultural, and recreational services to black inner city youths. (Edmonds, 2012)

The Rastafari Wombman’s struggle for recognition was the result of disobedience on the part of a few brethren because her comprehensive positioning had been declared for the world to behold on November 2, 1930. Emperor Haile Selassie I sought to uphold the African woman in the highest esteem when he veered from tradition and crowned our Holy Mother, Empress Menen Asfaw alongside himself. This act also actualized the African family, as Empress Menen was 5 months pregnant at the time with Prince Sahale Selassie b. (2/27/1931) and thus the Coronation represented a trinity of events-Man, Woman, and Child. When this component was excluded from the Movement it left out an integral part of what I n I represented. Nana Farika’s publication “Call In Sister Love volume one: The Crowning of the Mother and the Birth of the Daughter” and Rasess Dr. Jahzani Kush’s “Roaring Lionesses: Rastafari Woman, Journeys of Self Liberation” speaks to this yearning that echoed in the bowels of the Rastafari Wombman; A yearning to be erected to her ancient place of honor.

Today the Rastafari Wombman has an pressing charge and it is the acknowledgement of Empress Menen Asfaw as the Iritical Balance of Haile Selassie I. Hailing the Empress as Ivine is not a new concept, many sons and dawtas have vocalized the irits to see the Empress elevated to her rightful place within the Livity. In hailing Haile Selassie as The Almighty, Dr. Kush stated “God does not have a wife that needs to be ignored” (Kush, 2016).

Askale Selassie, who now resides in Ethiopia, is the founder of The Empress Menen Foundation, started in the UK to improve the quality of life of All Nations Rastafari in the U.K. exploring and sharing their African – Caribbean Cultural heritage; educating the world community through directly raising standards of literacy, skills development and exchange working with communities in, Jamaica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines and the Continent of Africa.

Rasess Dr. Jahzani Kush of South Florida began hosting the Empress Menen Earthstrong and Rastafari Mother’s Day Ilabration more than a decade ago. The focus was to honor Empress Menen on her earthlight and to offer the Rastafari Wombman a day where she is treated royally. Attendees were served a meal fully prepared by the brethren, given gifts, opportunities to share wordsound on the Empress and a musical interlude. Dr. Kush also started a monthly newsletter called “Menen’s Gazette” which focused on all aspects of the Rastafari woman, advertised events, and published articles relevant to its cause. The Feminine Ivine energy can be felt moving through Iration and the time has come to give Empress Menen her due.

In the words of Nana Farika Berhane, "Honoring Empress Menen Empowers the Rastafari Woman"

In honoring Empress Menen, the Rastafari woman raises her status to a higher level. The Rastafari woman seeks to use her moonlight to shine in the dark night of mental slavery and confusion among her people. She wishes to work towards freeing the world from dowpression and to work towards world peace.

Today as the Rastafari woman’s role is receiving more recognition, the significance of the coronation of Empress Menen needs to be known. Empress Menen's story needs to be told. The Rastafari man needs to follow his Emperor's example and allow his queen to share in his glory. The abuna's words to Empress Menen to let her crown be one of piety and charity rings true to the Rastafari woman today with urgency. When the Rastafari woman obeys this charge, she will find that blessings in abundance will shower upon her.

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