Rastafarian Jah Lloyd dies in Ethiopia

After a lifetime of campaigning for the repatriation of Rastafarians to Ethiopia, their spiritual homeland, Jah Lloyd, the outspoken Rastafarian activist, died last week in that east African country, Sunday Observer sources said. Jah Lloyd, whose real name is Lloyd Young, was in his 60s.

The Sunday Observer was unable to ascertain the circumstances of his death, but the sources said he was found dead in his room Thursday by a Rastafarian brethren.

Jah Lloyd, an elder of the local Rastafari Theocracy government, reportedly left Jamaica mid last year for Ethiopia to attend a “reasoning” (conference) on repatriation, in his capacity as chairman of Jamaica’s Rastafari Steering Committee of the Ethiopian Peace Foundation (EPF).

But while still in Ethiopia towards the end of last year, he tendered his resignation as chairman of the EPF, which was established as an umbrella organisation for all Rastafari mansion (organisations) to promote the efforts of the repatriation movement by HIH Zere Yacob Asfa Wossen, crown prince and heir apparent to the throne of his late grandfather Haile Selassie I.

Repatriation to the motherland is a fundamental aspect of the Rastafari worldview since the coronation of Haile Selassie I in 1930, which marked the birth of the 74-year-old movement.

One of the last Jamaicans to have contact with Jah Lloyd was popular Rastafarian poet/broadcaster, Mutabaruka, who told the newspaper that he spoke to Jah Lloyd by phone last Wednesday night when he (Jah Lloyd) called him at Irie FM to discuss developments in Ethiopia on his (Mutabaruka’s) weekly Cutting Edge talk show. However, the show had not yet come on air.

News of his passing was received the next day, Thursday.

Close associate of Jah Lloyd, Abuna Bongo Blackheart, head of the Haile Selassie Royal Ethiopian Judah Coptic Church at Balcombe Drive, Waterhouse, said he knew Jah Lloyd from in the 1960s.

“The earliest time I started to interact with him (Jah Lloyd), was in the 60s when he lost his comb and accepted the covenant of the Most I (stop combing and began wearing locks) here in the Church of Judah. We shared spiritual and intellectual strength and reasoning,” said Bongo Blackheart.

Yesterday, Rastafarian journalist, Barbara Blake Hannah, remembered Jah Lloyd as “one of the breavest revolutionary warriors”. She said Lloyd waged a forceful crusade in the struggle for repatriation and reparation which once led to his burning the British flag at that country’s high commission here. He also, at another time, set fire to a tree planted by the queen at National Heroes Park where he was staging a Nyahbinghi ceremony.

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