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Tomlinson Speaks to his Rastafarian Culture

Published:Saturday | July 4, 2015 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
Mansfield Tomlinson has been Rastafarian for 43 years.


For decades, individuals have had a myriad of views on the practices and way of life of Rastafarians. While some of these views may be negative, Mansfield Tomlinson is pleased with his lifestyle as a Rastafarian and wishes for others to "come to the light".

"I have been a Rastafarian for about 43 years now. As a young man coming up, I was never interested in cutting my hair. I read a lot and researched and I had questions that I couldn't get answers for."

Tomlinson, who grew up in an Adventist home, found no satisfaction in the doctrine preached and soon became a part of the Rastafarian movement.

"That is another thing too; it is not an 'ism'; it is not a religion. It is a way of life; it is a movement."

He continued: "Our fundamental beliefs include accepting self as Africans and not responding to Eurocentric ways of living. We believe all men are equal, and we hold women to the highest regard."

the Bible

Tomlinson said that Rastas have nothing against the Bible, but they do not hold it in the highest regard as do Christians.

"I read the Bible and I have come to realise it is much about Jewish culture and about the history of Hebrew. The Bible doesn't explain anything about me as a black man ... the Trinity, to us, is not God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing, but the trinity is man, woman and child. Christianity does not uphold women, and we cannot believe in something that does that."

He further mentioned, "We live a natural life and we live according to the works of nature (in terms of) how we eat, how we think, how we operate, and if you realise people are gravitating to that aspect, people are consuming more raw foods, and what we have always called 'ital food', they are now calling it organic food."

Haile Selassie as king

Tomlinson says the natural way of operating transcends to their worship activities as well.

"We deem Haile Selassie as our king, the embodiment of a Christ and supreme being. But in terms of worship, it is an internal self that is blessed and commands a higher power. We praise nature and the universe."

Understanding that persons will continue to misinterpret the views and beliefs of his lifestyle, Tomlinson says persons have to strive to move away from society's acclaimed ideals.

"This modern-world living and people living according to society is seen as acceptable. Modernity serves its purpose, but we do not see it as ideal," concluded Tomlinson.