No one could imagine that there is a community of Rastafarians in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, populated by men on dreadlocks, unique human identity and characteristics. They live and interact comfortably with nature and play and dance their globally known trade, Reggae music, smoke cigarettes, marijuana with impunity and display strong religious belief in Jah (God).
The peaceful and quiet Rastafarian community is located behind Mpape hills, few metres away from the Living Faith Church, Mpape, by Maitama District extension, Abuja. It is surrounded by thick bushes and mountains that are home to dangerous animals.
The large presence of Rastafarians made the community, even without basic facilities for human existence, notably; access road, electricity, portable water, schools, healthcare facilities and several others, a reference point for tourists and other fun seekers within and outside Abuja.
Portrait photographs of world respected Reggae music icons, like the late Bob Marley,
Visitors to the community are welcomed by array of Rastafarians with different kinds of guitar hung on their shoulder. The stench of smoke from cigarettes, marijuana and other substances has become a permanent feature in the community, with total disregard to the health effects of such consumption.
In fact, it has become their tradition, sign of acceptance and fraternity to welcome visitors with cigarette or marijuana they offer them on arrival at the community. They encouraged the visitors to learn reggae greetings, language and handshake in order to freely interact and enjoy their company within the period of stay.
Many of them have been smoking for years with visible signs of the effects of the consumption of the hard substance reflecting all over them. Many have not barbed their dreadlocks for decades and don’t even have plans of doing so because it is their brand identity. Dreadlock, like hard drugs, is an incompatible part of Rastafarianism.
Some of them are married and have children. They are even grandfathers but most of them never worried about denying their families the comfort of fatherhood. After all, every human being is under the protective custody of Jah.
And don’t bother asking them about their religious inclination because there are no Muslims, Christians or atheists. They are secured and provided by Jah Rastafarian powered by weed and other hard drugs. Rastafarianism is a world of mystery. The more you look the less you see.
One of the community leaders, Ras Judah Vincent, told Daily Sun that the small community of Rastafarians is the most peaceful and cool locations where someone can find peace and inspiration in Abuja:
“We have been here for several years living a quiet and peaceful life, and giving Glory to Jah Who blesses us. We are friendly, respectful and accommodating. We used to have farmers as neighbours but some of them have relocated elsewhere for unknown reasons. We are Jah people. We don’t look for trouble but give double fold of trouble to whoever looks for our trouble.”
When asked about his nationality and family, he replied: “I am a Nigerian from Kaduna State. I am married but my wife died over 15 years ago. I don’t have any intention of getting another woman because nowadays women are materialistic and they have other factors that determine their choice. But the bottom line is that I don’t want to marry again.
“I have four grown up children. Three boys and a girl and none of them keep dreadlocks maybe not now because I didn’t start mine early. I started after the death of my wife around 2001. My daughter is married and has two children. So, I am a grandfather. One of my children is in Sao Tome doing Jah work. I never interfere in their choices of lifestyle because no one did for me. I chose to be a Rastafarian and I am proud of it.”
He admitted that the community doesn’t have electricity and other basic amenities for better living and they are not bothered about that: “Jah gives them light and inspiration each time the need arises.
“Howbeit, we have generator set to power our phones and other gadgets so we can be reached and not miss certain opportunities. Outside that, we don’t need anything. We are contented.”
He said the community receives tourists and fun seekers regularly who come to enjoy the natural atmosphere, Reggae music and study the lifestyle of the Rastafarians: “Many of us get invited for several music shows at big night clubs, hotels and events inside Abuja city.
“Virtually everyday of last week, school children were coming for excursion exercises here. We have also received local and international dignitaries including Ambassadors who came to identify and fraternise with us.
“We don’t misbehave each time school children visit neither do we smoke marijuana, consume alcohol nor any other hard substances. We ensure they don’t get afraid when they see people with long dreadlocks so we could freely interact.
“We teach them lot of things including our greeting style, language, general lifestyle and also refer them to books and other literary works for further information about Rastafarian world. We are always happy that they go home well informed.
“We caved this enclave for ourselves to propagate the message of Jah to the world and celebrate ourselves, and also stay away from noisy society and wickedness of government officials.”
He, however, confessed that smoking, especially the weeds, gives them inspiration to their calling and connect them with Jah at all times for amazing and improved productivity:
“I told my employers before that the larger percentage of my salary is spent on marijuana without regret. Marijuana (ganja) is healthy to the body and soul because it is natural. All global efforts to stop it failed. We are proud of it and we would not stop consuming it because it is part of our menu.
“Some Rastas in our community here don’t take alcohol neither do they go after women but marijuana is what you cannot separate from them. That is what takes larger percentage of their earnings.”