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At the time, some people actually thought you were backwards if you wanted to climb a tree [to pick fruits] when you could just go to the shop and buy a can of Coca-Cola.“But now, people appreciate they can buy good juices or they have juicers in their homes. Eventually, the truth does come out.” NATURAL Backing Zephaniah’s sentiments, Maxi Priest, who found and embraced Rastafari during the ‘70s, says: “If we go back in time, Rasta has been echoing this mantra for years – natural living.

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PASSIONATE: Benjamin Zephaniah is a proud Rastas The reasons Rastas give up smoking marijuana are the same reasons why tobacco users kick the habit.

Although there are many Rastafarians who still smoke, others, especially those who follow a stringent orthodox lifestyle, advise smokers to respect their body.

Like Nazarites of biblical days, Rastafarians regard themselves as “the separate ones”.

Dedicated to pure and holy living, Nazarites vowed not to cut their hair, as described in the Bible in Numbers 6:5, which says: “All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separated himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.” (King James Version.) FASHION Today, dreadlocks have transcended racial and religious barriers.

“Most people think all Rastafarians smoke marijuana, but I don’t smoke because I view my body as a temple,” says Zephaniah, who lectures at Brunel University.

“I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need ganja to get high and I didn’t like the habit I developed.

“We don’t say vegan, we say ital and lots of people do that now.

I remember being in Jamaica and seeing the grapefruits and other fruits on the trees.

WARM WELCOME: Hundreds of people flocked to Palisadoes Airport to greet emperor Haile Selassie when he visited Jamaica in 1966 Throughout the years, Rastafarian culture has been greatly criticized, debated and questioned over its authenticity and the livity (lifestyle) it promotes.

Rastas even came under attack, quite literally, during the infamous 1963 Coral Garden ‘incident’, which saw the Jamaican security forces rounding up, jailing and torturing hundreds of Rastafarians.

With this week marking the 47th anniversary of Haile Selassie’s historic Jamaican visit, Life & Style spoke to British poet Benjamin Zephaniah and award-winning reggae artiste Maxi Priest, to get their thoughts on why Rasta culture is becoming the norm.