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  • Meet the Rastafarians who returned to the Promised Land


    (CNN)When Julian Whitely lived in New York he was a go-to for legendary musician Bob Marley and his band The Wailers. Recalling his time as a fixer for the group, he remembers being asked to do all manner of things.

    "When they come for business, I'm the one.... 'Julian, we need fish,' I'm the one, we need ganja, we need vegetables... take us here, take us there."

    It was a hectic life, and rather different from the one he lives now. Today he is more likely to be found tending his garden than cruising the streets of downtown Manhattan.

    Whitely left New York behind for southern Ethiopia, swapping the metropolis for a rural town. Now he's one of 600-800 Rastafarians living in Shashamene, an intriguing and beguiling place and the heart of the modern day religion.


    The draw of the Promised Land


     Papa Rocky, head of the Nyabingi Rastafarian Community, Patriarch of the Nyabingi Tabernacle, and Rupert Edwards in Shashamene, 2005.

    Two hundred and fifty kilometers from Addis Ababa, Shashamene's Rastafarians live in 200 hectares of land bequeathed by former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, the country's leader from 1930 to 1974. A modernizer, he was a strong supporter of pan-Africanism and brought the country into the League of Nations, United Nations and made the capital Addis Ababa the center of the Organization of African Unity -- the precursor for the African Union.

    But for many Rastafarians he was more than just the head of state. In fact the erstwhile duke ("Ras") Tafari Makonnen gave his name to an entire religion.

    Sent to assume the seat of Jah, "His Majesty Haile Selassie I is the returned Messiah, Jesus Christ in his kingly character," argues Brother Moody, one of Shashamene's residents.

    It follows then that, via Rastafarians' interpretation of the Book of Revelation, Shashamene is holy ground: "we see it [as] justified to see Ethiopia as the Promised Land, the New Jerusalem."

    The notion of escaping Babylon and living in a heaven on earth has drawn Rastafarians from around the world. Bob Marley may have visited Shashamene in 1978, but others have made the move more permanent. Moody was born in Jamaica and with his life's savings made the trip to Ethiopia in 1981. Sister Tereas hails from Chicago, Illinois, and relocated in 2005 after making the journey for the first time in 1999.

    Justifying her decision, she says "to know His Majesty and not to come for me doesn't make any sense. We chant every day about Zion, Ethiopia, creators coming from Africa, so if I didn't do it to me it would be like talking just to talk."


    Welcome to Rasta town


    Deputy chief of the Ethiopian World Federation Salomon Eldain his house in Shashamene, 2005.

    Reggae music and marijuana are often associated with the Rasta lifestyle, and they are an important part of rituals.

    Whitely may not grow it among his cauliflowers, cabbage and herbs, but marijuana plays a part in "I-and-I," a communion and oneness with Jah. "We have a practice of using it as a sacrament in our way of chanting," Moody explains. "When I use marijuana, what it does to me, is that it keep[s] me in tune or in harmony with God."

    Around the tabernacle the community chants and re-convenes, brethren reunited on home soil. To live in Shashamene is "to be free," says Tereas. "The feeling of freedom here is amazing, as an African American; as an American person of color."

    "This is always what we want to be," says Whitely, "to come here and live that life... and I'm a little part of it now, you know."

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  • Photographing Ethiopia’s Young Skate Scene


    Jessica Fulford-Dobson’s Skate Girls of Kabul and Yann Gross’s images of Ugandan skateboarders are just a few contemporary examples of how photography has become integral to the development of young skate scenes around the world. It’s interesting to see how a rebellious subculture in the U.S.–whose documentation can be traced back to Craig Stecyk‘s pictures of the Dogtown Z-Boys in 1970s Southern California–is increasingly becoming a means of empowerment across the globe.

    In January, Berlin-based photographer Daniel Reiter fell in love with the growing skate community in Addis Ababa. It was there that he teamed up with the grassroots youth skateboard movement known as Ethiopia Skate. Soon, Reiter found himself documenting the city’s skatelife and collecting skateboards and streetwear for donations.

    Reiter’s pictures–over thirty of which were featured in his debut art exhibition this month in Vienna–encapsulate the hopes and dreams of young skaters in Addis Ababa. Now, with acrowdfunding campaign recently launched and a trip back to Ethiopia on the horizon, the photographer looks to take his Ethiopiaskate series worldwide.

    Okayafrica caught up with Reiter to learn more about his work photographing Addis Ababa’s skate community and the wider impact of skateboarding in Ethiopia.


     readmore here http://www.africa-ontherise.com/photographing-ethiopias-young-skate-scene/

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  • Mekedonia Founder Humanitarian Biniam Belete Married


    Biniam Belete is a Young Ethiopian Humanitarian who is helping elderly and mentally ill poor people in Ethiopia. He is the founder of Mekedonia Humanitarian associations MHA. He is now married to Eleni Gebreyes who is also active in the association.


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  • The 15 Best Quips from Anthony Bourdain’s Tour of Ethiopia


    By Brenna Houck |

    Traveling from the humming streets of Addis Ababa to rural villages, the latest episode of CNN’s series Parts Unknown spans history, culture, and heritage to debunk myths and discover where Ethiopia stands as a country today. According to host Anthony Bourdain, the country is undergoing renewed economic growth “fueled largely by direct foreign investment and a returning Ethiopian diaspora.” And appropriate to that theme, New York City chef Marcus Samuelsson and his wife, model Maya Haile, act as Bourdain’s guides.

    Samuelsson’s exploration of his own sense of place plays a major role in the episode. His relationship to Ethiopia is a complex one. Samuelsson was born to a farming family in a rural Ethiopian village in the 1970s and contracted tuberculosis at the age of two. In a last-ditch effort to save her children, Samuelsson’s mother walked him and his sister 75 miles to a Swedish hospital in Addis Ababa for treatment. She later died, but Samuelsson and his sister recovered and were adopted by a Swedish couple. Then, at an early age, Samuelsson moved to New York City, where he established himself as an expert chef.

    Parts Unknown (Pic 1)“I always find it such a paradox that I was born into very little food, but yet I’ve made my whole life about food,” he says. “My structure and pragmatism comes from being raised in Sweden. And my sort of vibrancy and warmth to cooking and feel-based food that I love comes definitely from here[Ethiopia].” Samuelsson has since reconnected with his birth father and has forged even more Ethiopian ties through marriage; Maya was born and raised in Ethiopia and has a strong grasp on the language and customs. From skate parks to tej bars and sheep slaughtering ceremonies, the group explores what it means to be a modern Ethiopian.

    Here now, the 15 best Bourdain quips from his Ethiopian sojourn:

    1) On the curiosity of seeking out food in a place with a history of famine: “Weirdly enough, the single aspect of Ethiopian culture that most Westerners do know a little about is Ethiopian food.”

    2) On injera bread: “It’s not just food, it’s an implement.”

    3) On the cultural practice of gursha — stuffing food in a fellow diner’s face: “Try this at the Waffle House sometime and prepare for awkwardness.”

    4) On the local cocktail — Turbo: “What’s the first rule of drinking? Don’t mix.”

    5) After drinking the Turbo: “You’re terrible people, man.”

    6) On tej, a low-alcohol fermented barley and honey drink: “It’s a cheap buzz.”

    Parts Unknown (Tej)7) On the number of religious icons in the tej bet: “That’s the last thing I want to see in a bar — the disapproving gaze of a saint.”

    8) On an era known as “The Swinging Addis”: “Before those fun-hating commies came and ruined everything.”

    9) While looking for chicken in a market: “I can smell a frightened chicken a mile off.”

    10) Before the chickens are slaughtered: “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.”

    11) To Samuelsson, on helping women make a feast: “How do the ladies feel about you cooking? This is causing serious problems?” Samuelsson, in response: “No, you already crossed it — because you’re the first foreigner ever in that kitchen.”

    12) On the traditional feast-making roles in Maya Haile’s village: “The production continues. Women in the kitchen — except for Marcus, who [looks] most comfortable there though his presence is a befuddlement to the others. Men taking care of the meat. Oh bro food traditions, you’re everywhere!”

    13) To Samuelsson, on humanity’s unique feasting skills: “It goes right back to the first fire. ‘I’ll bring the dip.'”

    14) On giant platters of barbecued meat: “This I love without reservation.”

    15) On Samuelsson’s preordained profession: “I’m pretty sure you would have been a shit farmer, Marcus, I really do. I just, I can’t see it. You would have been the best-dressed goddamn farmer, that’s for sure.”

    Source: Eater

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    Usually, when we drink coffee, we add some sugar and cream to improve its taste to our liking. But there’s a new trend now that could make you stop using the sugar and cream – a pat of butter. This trend goes by the name Bulletproof Coffee, and is believed to be able to help you kick your day into overdrive.

    Many wellness experts support the use of butter to boost coffee’s taste and effect. If you’re unsure whether to try it, here are some reasons that could convince you to add some butter in your coffee tomorrow:

    1. Great for People On the Go

    If you start work or school early, you don’t always have time for breakfast before you leave the house. So, you could just add two tablespoons of butter to your coffee and this is already the equivalent of a complete meal. The butter will give you the calories and essential fats you need, so that you can perform better at work or school.

    1. Energy for the Mind and Body

    Staying alert is one of the reasons why people drink coffee in the morning. The Bulletproof Coffee will provide energy for the body, as well as the mind. In fact, it will increase your cognitive function, so that you will feel more alert for as long as six hours. And unlike traditional coffee, you will not experience any form of crash.

    1. Good for Weight Loss

    People who think about losing weight, don’t usually consider adding butter to their diets because it is filled with fat and is very high in calories. However, if you regularly put butter in your coffee, you will allow your body to adjust to the increased fat intake. It will become a routine for your body, so it will be much easier to trim your waistline down. In addition, grass-fed butter has conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, which has already been proven to reduce body fat, particularly in people who are considered overweight.

    1. Healthy Fats

    Adding butter to your coffee will definitely give you the fat that your body needs. And not only that, but it can also provide your brain with the healthy fats that are essential in creating membranes and hormones for better cognitive function. The short-chain fatty acid–butyrate–is believed to be effective in preventing heart disease, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disease, while increasing your energy.

    If you want to increase your energy, satiety, and focus, start adding butter to your coffee today.


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