Jumping Nyahbinghi youths – Local Articulations of Roots Reggae Music in a Rastafarian Dancehall in Cape Town

Tuomas Järvenpää

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The Rasrafarian movement has experienced fast growth during recent years in South Africa and especially in the province of Western Cape. This article examines this process through an ethnographic account of a weekly reggae dancehall event held by the Rastafarian Marcus Garvey community in the township of Philippi in Cape Town. During the course of three months of fieldwork the author investigated how recorded Jamaican dancehall music is used in the community and how it is articulated to different Rastafarian identifications within the dancehall space. Several scholars of Rastafari have suggested that contemporary Jamaican dancehall music has had theological impact on the Rastafarian movement, particularly outside of the Caribbean. The article provides an empirical contribution to these discussions by demonstrating that Rastafarians in the Marcus Garvey community have made significant innovations both theologically and musically in relation to their Jamaican counterparts, reorienting contemporary Jamaican popular music as a spiritual practice linked to religious purity norms informed by an international Rastafarian organization, the Nyabinghi Order. As a result Jamaican dancehall music is taking a central position in various moral negotiations within the Marcus Garvey community.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSuomen Antropologi
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)5-26
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5143 Social and cultural anthropology

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