Ethiopian government finally recognizes Rastafarian group, issues IDs



The Ethiopian government has recognized Rastafarians as nationals by issuing them with identity cards.

There are close to 1,000 Rastafarians living in the capital Addis Ababa and Shashamane – land granted to them by Ethiopia’s ruler Haile Selassie in 1940s.

This decision now means they can enter the East African nation without visas and live without residence permits.

Rastafarianism, which began after Emperor Haile Selassie came to power, has followers who believe he is god.

“Being that we are living here , we made a choice that we are going to be Ethiopians , we are going to be Africans so we decided… we had to learn how to survive here,” said Sidney Salmon, a member of the group.

The foreign ministry said the thousands of people who will be issued the new identity cards still cannot take part in elections or engage in the country’s security and defense sectors.

Even so however, the Rastafarians are happy they finally got legal recognition from the Ethiopian government.

“For me it is a dream come true and it gives us more strength and for more inspiration for our people to come home because what we promote and preach is repatriation to Africa,” said Ma’an Judah.

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