In Search of Identity: An Anthropological study on the Experiences of Rastafarians in Contemporary Malawi

by Stewart Martin Maganga

Institution: Nelson Mandela University
Department: Sociology and Anthropology
Degree: Doctorate Degree
Year: 2019
Keywords: Rastafari, Malawi, Identity, Religious Minorities
Posted: 01/17/2020
Record ID: 2222203
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10948/42536,


Prior to 1994, religious freedoms were largely restricted because the constitution at the time vested its powers in the president who was at the time was Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda. Banda, who ruled Malawi for thirty years, sought to present Malawi to the outside world as a Christian nation. This was purposefully done by ignoring the existence of other religious faiths in the country of which Rastafari was one. Although the Rastafari movement was in existence during Banda’s presidency, most Rastas found it difficult to practice their religious beliefs freely. Because of this, it was found that throughout the three decades Banda was in power, the Rastafari movement in Malawi was virtually underground. This further gave the public impression to the public at the time that Rastas were non-existent in the country. It was only after the general elections of 1994 that Malawians became aware of the existence of the Rastafari movement in the country. With that said, there remains a paucity of written information on the Rastafari movement in Malawi, that is before and after the 1994 general election. To be able to establish why the Rastafari movement continues to grow in Malawi, this thesis began by addressing the question of why a certain group of individuals would seek becoming to Rastas in Malawi including its impact on their lives including relationships with both friends and family members.