So the bottomline is, it might depend on the individuals to decide.“Wait here,” says Priest Radcliffe, a young Boboshanti Rastafarian and our guide into the camp.
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Stern-faced men wearing flowing robes and tall turbans loiter near a hand-painted sign saying, ‘BLACK SOVEREIGN NATION: ETHIOPIA EMBASSY, (EGYPT) JAMAICA’, eyeing us suspiciously.
As we wait to be ‘checked out’, the atmosphere is tense.
We can’t afford to be turned away (London to Bull Bay, Jamaica, is no small trip) so myself and Debbie, the photographer, have swapped our usual attire of tight jeans, Tees and loose hair for righteous ensembles of hair wraps, ankle-length skirts and tunics. No time for pleasantries as she launches straight into the fabled question, “What was the start date of your last menstrual cycle?
I’m damn hot and I feel more Mormon than earth mama but if it gets us in, I don’t care. ”“Fifth July,” we squeak in unison, our pre-prepared chant timed to coincide with the camp’s draconian law.
Sizzla is a big promoter of the natural Black woman.
Whether or not a Rasta Man can be with a Rasta woman would depend on whether the two can coexist without compromising each others values.
On a day-to-day basis, men and women live separately from the age of seven and, although much more lax, male camp members don’t escape rules.
They pray three times a day, take part in work such as making brooms and cooking, and are forbidden from listening to music (reggae included) unless it’s traditional African drumming known as Nyabinghi.
The woman in the picture is not a Rasta woman as many would expect as the wife or girlfriend of Sizzla Kalonji.
In fact, the woman is wearing what appears to be fake hair, a weave. Lovely wife kalonji; what I realise most so call rastas and reggae singers who chant and burn the most fyah pon everything ; in reality they don’t practice what they preach.
Outside this area, red flags are placed by huts to denote a ‘polluted’ woman is inside.