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Shashamane (or Shashemene, ሻሸመኔ) is a town and a separate woreda in central Ethiopia. It is located in the Mirab Arsi Zoneof the Oromia Region. The city lies on the Trans-African Highway 4 Cairo-Cape Town, about 150 miles (240 km) from the capital of Addis Ababa. It has a latitude of 7° 12′ north and a longitude of 38° 36′ east.

In 1948 Emperor Haile Selassie I donated 500 acres (2.0 km2) of his private land to allow members of the Rastafari movementEthiopian World Federation (EWF) officers and members and other settlers from Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean to go to Africa. The return would be under the auspices of the EWF, founded in 1937 by the Emperor’s special emissary to Black America, Melaku E. Bayen[2]. The official letter confirming the “land grant” of 1948 was submitted to the members and executives of the Ethiopian World Federation in 1955 [3]. Following up on this, the first West Indian family and Federation members from Montserrat were Mr. James Piper and his wife Helen who arrived that same year as the first land grant administrators, returning to make a permanent settlement in 1955 on behalf of the Federation.[4]

When Haile Selassie I was deposed in 1974 the new government of Mengistu Haile Mariam confiscated all but 11 hectares.

In January 2005 there were reports in the media that Bob Marley‘s remains were to be exhumed and then reburied at Shashamane. His wife Rita Marley described Ethiopia as his spiritual home, provoking controversy in Jamaica, where his remains lie.

At the beginning of the following month, thousands of fans gathered in Shashamane for a month of celebrations for what would have been Marley’s 60th birthday. Until 2005 his birthday celebrations were always held in Jamaica. These recent events brought Shashamane to wider prominence throughout the world.

The Rastafarian settlement in Shashamane was recently reported to exceed two hundred individuals.[14] In January 2007 it organized an exhibition and a bazaar in the city. It was also reported recently prior to the Ethiopian Millennium that various pro-Ethiopian World Federation groups, consisting of indigenous Ethiopians and Rastafarians, have given support to one of many five year plans proposed for sustainable development of Shashamene, Ethiopia.[15]

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Notes

  1. ^ 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Oromia Region, Vol. 1, Tables 2.1, 2.5, 3.4 (accessed 13 January 2012)
  2. ^ by Ayele Bekerie, Tadias Magazine
  3. ^ by Ras Nathaniel
  4. ^ “Dr. Melaku E. Bayen: Ethiopian Emissary to Black America”. Ethiopian World Federation. Archived from the original on 2008-12-07. Retrieved 2011-09-13.

     14. ^ Jamaican Rastafarian Development Community website
     15 .^ – Ethiopian World Federation Ethiopian Millennium website

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