House of Judah Nyabinghi Rastafarian Grounation in Khayalethu South Township, South Africa

After a few wrong turns a local couple walking on the road offered to jump in the car and navigate in exchange for a taxi fare to where they were heading.  Five minutes and 20 Rand later we arrived at Judah Square - the largest Rastafarian community in South Africa located just outside of the city of Knysna in the Khayalethu South Township and home to about 80 Niyabinghi Rastafarians.

Entrance mural to the House of Judah

Brother Leo - sporting some heavily matted dreads - was the first member of the House of Judah to greet us when we arrived telling us that we were lucky to come at the time we did because it was a special night for the community.  The House of Judah has a binghi or holy day on the first Saturday of the month and people were just starting to gather around a pile of wood outside the of the temple.  Leo brought us over and introduced us to 10 men as another group from the community joined us. The introductions were mainly fist pumping followed by "irie, one love or I and I."

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Brother Leo getting down with his 8 inch
thick dread

As it began to get dark the group outside of the temple continued to get larger as four men played the drums and the group sang songs.  The two friends I was travelling with weren't interested in sticking around for the night so we made plans to meet back at Judah Square the following morning and they left. 

I met Sister Keri who ran "Sista Keri's B&B" in a separate room about three feet from her house with two bunk beds, a toilet and a sink.  She offered to cook a vegetable dinner for me if I was hungry, but I wanted to get back to the binghi so headed back to the temple.

Dancing around the fire

By then it was dark and the pile of wood that was in the center of the ring of people was a healthy fire.  The rasta's were singing songs about the fire and dancing and after a while they began to move in closer and circle clockwise around the fire.  More people from the community came into the circle as they all walked around the fire and then proceeded into the church.   I was standing outside the circle shooting video and taking photographs.  One of the rastas came over to me and told me that I first needed to walk around the fire seven times and throw into the fire any negative feelings I had and then I could go into the temple.

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House of Judah Niyabinghi Temple

Inside chants to Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie were interspersed with singing, dancing, smoking, beating the drums, sermons extolling the virtues of Rastafarianism, and calls by the priest for the community to act in unity on current political matters.  Another member of the rasta community read from a teaching of Haile Selassie on the importance of the functions of a legislature and the need for the community to financially support the legislature and made an effort to relate the reading to the need for his fellow rastas to put money into a box he was holding.

As midnight approached a few rastas trickled in and a few others left the temple, but for the most part it was still a full house.  After more than six hours of binghi and no end in sight I headed off to Sister Keri's place to get some sleep while the grounation continued well into the morning.

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We are thinking of you and wish the best on your travels. Be safe...


I hope all is well. Be careful out there.


Rastafarian --- makes me wonder just how many religions there are in this world! The people appear to accept you. Good.


It is more than a religion.... it is more than just a decision!


Greetings in his Holy and Perfect Name, Jah Rastafari.

Bless Up the video John, those videos are very amazing!

They are great!

Only Rastafari know. Wow! I give those videos a 5 super star, cause that was something unseen before.

How you did that, Only Rastafari Know!

You know, Yes I, Rastafari, the Most High, For Iver.

InI stand strong, inna babylon!

Good Job, Keep Working, Very Good Culture. I am very impressed, excelente!

BCC inna da Wavsav

Great read! thx

heyzzaaaaa---all you guys, i've missed you but will be there next week--especial greetings to Maxi and Rueben and Cliff


greetings in the name of the most high, king of kings, his imperial merjesty haile selassie 1, crown of many crowns.


I would love to meet the RastafarI Community in the Cape. I have recently moved down here from Kzn after a brief introduction to the culture and religion and I want to become a Rasta myself


Jah bless my bruda. Im glad to hear of this. Since i've found Jah my dream is to trace my roots and to walk the motherland jus as my TRUE forefathers possibly did. If you post anything new email me. This is better than anything i could watch on television. Be safe. One Love




Greetin' inna de name of de Most HIGH.JAH is guidin' us Africa to de right direction, seen, seen. Yeah mon me love dis positive vibes and is very cool. I and I feel Iries.
We were born with de spirit of Sellassie no mon shall teach us anythin'cos mon we learn dem before a mon can get some ideas.Words, sound and power is our weapon against de oppressor mon.




I am humble young man trap in babylon systems we wan leave wid rasta in africa, but first me afe learn to do natural mystic tings, can anyone teach meh. if u dun understand example: make lightning in the sky


Hi, this is Fyahmaya from Germany.
Last time i had send u a massage, i think i forgott to leave my e-mail-adress.
I am sitting here in the pot of Babaylon, trying to join a rasta Community.As a Rastafarian it is hard to live between Catholics. Hope to find some courage.

Hail Qedamawe Haile Selassie Almighty JAH.
the I who a read this are a blessed I, to be a witness of this spiritual revolution orchestrated by InI who were born with the Irits of the King of Kings Abbabajahnhoi.

Afrika a rise! and dirty Babywrong a fall!! so mek up ur mine whether to fall with the system or to rise thru following the word of the King.
In Kenya, RasTafari fire of organization and centralization is red hot. Yemesgan ula gize, kibre le Amlak.

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Taking off to some unidentified place in the heart of Africa – somewhere with no electricity, no running water and at least one week’s journey from anything resembling a city has been a long time dream of mine.

My name is John Bradley and in May 2009, I left my job in Chicago, sold my car, moved everything else I owned into my grandma’s basement and flew to Africa. I plan to take roughly one year to overland on a budget from Cape Town to Cairo. I do not have an itinerary; I have no idea where I will be five days from now. My path is guided by the attempt to balance the urge to see and experience as much as I can with the desire to travel slowly and close to the ground.

This is where I will post my stories, photos, and videos as I move along on my journey. Feel free to post comments or send me an email with any thoughts or suggestions.

Current location: Coffee Bay, South Africa

Distance traveled: 42,790 km

Days on the road: 366

(last updated 5/16/10)

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