Malawi Rastas hold demo: Schools should allow pupils with dreadlocks

Rastafarians in Malawi are intensifying their push for the government to lift its ban on students attending school wearing dreadlocks as they staged protests on Wednesday at the Civic Office in  Blantyre City on the disguised state’s denial of the rastas `freedom of worship’.

The much-maligned sect also wants the Head of State to extend presidential appointments to members of Rastafari community who may be equally competent and qualified for such positions.

Rasta like any citizen has a right to education. Why discriminate against our children

Rasta  petition government on the disguised state’s denial of the rastas `freedom of worship’

Rastafarians Push for Dreadlocks in Schools As a Right.

The Rastafarians want their children to be allowed to attend public schools in dreadlocks, arguing that it is unconstitutional to deny their children an education because of their religious practice, which calls for wearing their hair in that style.

They Rasts said dreadlocks were a fundamental tenet of Rastafarian beliefs and therefore should be exempt from the policy.

Rastafarian community argue that the prohibition of dreadlocked children in public schools violates the children’s right to education as well as their freedom of worship – which are both enshrined in Malawi’s constitution.

They presented a petition after a street march  asking government to revisit the education policy to ensure that Rastafarian children are given equal access to education.

“Rastafarians pay taxes just as anybody else  and out  children should not be denied public education to which we  contribute substantially,” the Rastas said.

They have suggested that the  ministry of education can  put in place measures to ensure that the children look presentable in their dreadlocks.

The Rastafarians have been trying to get the unofficial ban on dreadlocks lifted for a decade, to no avail.

The closest they came was in 2011 when  late president Bingu wa Mutharika verbally instructed teachers to start allowing dreadlocked Rastafarian children in schools. But following his death in 2012, the instructions did not get implemented.

The Rastas’ push has gained support from some legal experts.

Edge Kanyongolo, a constitutional lawyer who lectures at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, says although rights can have limits, he sees no reason to ban wearing of dreadlocks.

“Our constitution guarantees various rights including the right to freedom of religion as well as a right to equal treatment. Now the only time you can limit those rights is if somehow the exercise of the rights harm the rights of others. In the case of Rastafarian children, I cannot see how allowing them to keep hair in dreadlocks harms anyone at all,” he said.

Ministry of Education authorities have argued that refusing dreadlocked children into classes is in line with education policy which aims to encourage uniformity among students.
Another controversial issue the Rastas want is to freely use cannabis.

The Rastafarians argue that smoking the drug locally knowns as ‘chamba’ is part of their religious doctrine which must be respected and upheld.

But Cannabis is illegal in Malawi and police are sparing no one, Rasta or non-Rasta, in their crackdown on suspects.

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Ras Shillo
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Ras Shillo

There is no valid reason to refuse rasta’s children to go to school in dreadlock. Nonse amene mukutsutsa izi mitu yanu sikugwira. You know what? We are all equal in God’s image, what will make Students equal is to stop cheating in exams. Rasta has a point and it shall come to pass. Don’t forget where your coming from…..

Livulezi river
Guest
Livulezi river

I believe the best way for these acclaimed so called rastaz is just to build their own schools so that they may implement their doctrines and teachings there without wasting time invading our nice schools with their stupid ideologies , masquerading as “freedom of watsoeva they call” Any well minded Malawian know who rastaz are. Their appearance speaks volume of whom they’re , without even finding what they daily do. And it’s this, their daily doings , that’ll spoil the rest of the very majority well mannered children If it’s for votes sake , I bet you , these people… Read more »

Mwananyanian
Guest
Mwananyanian

The chamba issue is a moot point at this juncture.
But, as for dreadlocks issue, it’s time the Rastas took the government to court baasi. There simply is no basis for this anomaly. And you’ll see how fast the government will scramble to accommodate our fellow citizens – fellow law abiding tax payers.

Aka
Guest
Aka

Muslims have opted to open their own schools and allow hijab. Let Rastafarians also contribute by training their own teachers who like Muslims can advance their religious freedom in their own school. You hemp fetches a lot of money illegally and you can come up with a school

Guanta
Guest
Guanta

Do Rasta children go to school to worship or to learn?
Muslims also want their girl child dressed in hijab when going to school.
When Catholic, CCAP, SDA, Anglican, were building schools and hospitals, u were busy eating weed, Muslims were busy doing slave trade. nde ndizimenezitu.
Don’t waste our time with stupid petitions. After all real rastas r only about 50000 the whole Malawi – the rest r simply chamba smokers; while Muslim population is about 300000 only the whole Malawi.

Make Malawi Great
Guest
Make Malawi Great

ignorant comment! Get exposure first its “2018” its a ”global village”you primitive shiznit! tolerence and respect to others belief system than your is the peace and minding your own business.

DAVIE C MAKAWA
Guest

YES THEIR KIDS SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN SCHOOLS, AND NO CANABIS SHOULD NOT BE LEGALISED IN MALAWI.

Chibgolopiyo
Guest
Chibgolopiyo

Rastas rastas

Bystander
Guest
Bystander

Election year. Everything is possible.

MCHACHA
Guest
MCHACHA

Ichi ndiye chamba chowawacho!! imagine aliyense adzipita ku sukulu momwe akufunilara dzitha bwanji? Ife a Nyau nafe timenyelere ufulu wa ana athu? Chifukwa chomwe boma limafunila kuti ana onse adzikhala ometa komanso ma uniform ndichakuti pasamakhale kusiyana pakati pawo potengera chipembedzo,kochokela kapena zikhulupiliro. Ngati mukufuna mangani ma sukulu anu basi

Natty Prince
Guest
Natty Prince

Malawi is still in dark ages

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