RasTafariTV Elder who hitchhiked and walked to Ethiopia from Europe

Bongo Papa Noel Dyer I (c. 1927 – 31 July 2000) was a Jamaican Rastafarian elder known within the movement as the man who “walked to Ethiopia” after hitchhiking there, becoming in 1965 one of the first Rastas to settle on the Shashamane land granted in 1948 by the Rastafarian messiah, and Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I. His story is featured prominently in The Emperor’s Birthday, the 1993 documentary by John Dollar featured above. He would later attach the prefix “Papa Bongo.” He was born in the Jamaican county of Westmoreland, played cricket locally, and then moved to Kingston in the 1950s. There, in that turbulent decade of social unrest, he heard a charismatic religious speaker by the name of Mortimer Planno, who told his audience of an African emperor who invited all those from the African diaspora to come to the motherland and settle on Ethiopian soil. This was Papa Bongo’s introduction to Rastafari and to the idea of a “Return to Africa.”

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