Pubdate: Thu, 03 Mar 2016
Source: Daily News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2016 The Daily News.
Author: Siyabonga Kalipa


THE aroma of dagga smoke hung over Parliament yesterday when about 
200 Rastafarians protested outside the House's gates.

The colourful march, by Rastafarians from across the Western Cape, 
started on Keizergracht and wound its way through Cape Town.

The protesters then handed a memorandum of grievances to Parliament.

Rastafari United Front chairman, Thau-Thau Haramanuba, said they were 
a recognised faith-based nation, yet were prosecuted and persecuted by the law.

He said their children were chased out of schools and they were 
victimised by police because of their religion.

Haramanuba said they had marched to Parliament to hand over two 
memorandums of grievances to President Jacob Zuma and Police Minister 
Nathi Nhleko.

Some of the demands addressed to Zuma read: "We are calling for an 
end to the religious and cultural discrimination and marginalisation 
which Rastafarian youth are subjected to at public and private schools.

"We are demanding that the criminalisation of marijuana for spiritual 
and cultural practices is nullified as marijuana utilisation is a 
core practice in the Rastafarian faith."

To the police minister they requested that the Independent Police 
Investigative Directorate fast-track the investigations of police 
brutality where Rastafarians were victims.

They also wanted to be compensated by the minister for the pain, 
suffering and humiliation they experienced at the hands of the police.

Charnelle Adams, a protester, said they wanted an end to police 
brutality against Rastafarians. "This is the first step in saying we 
are part of this country, and therefore we are going to step up for 
what we believe in."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom