Rastafarian Community

Area in Shashemene

Shashemene’s Rastafarian community, known locally as Jamaica, straddles the main road just north of town. It’s readily distinguished by its tri-coloured buildings, dreadlocked inhabitants and rounded vowels of Caribbean English. If you want to really meet and learn about the ‘Jamaicans’, the Zion Train Lodge and Banana Art Gallery are two good places to start.

Various local teenagers (none of them real Rastas) serve as unofficial, and often unwelcome, guides. They’ll take you to see some churches and the defunct Black Lion Museum, which is just a family’s home with paintings of the Emperor on the walls, but their real aim is to sell you ganja (marijuana), which is held sacrosanct in Rastafarianism but is illegal in Ethiopia. You’ve been warned.