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Interviews
Rasta: A Soul’s Journey

Rasta: A Soul’s Journey

Maliika Walker- Island Stage

I recently had the opportunity to check out the documentary, ‘Rasta: A Soul’s Journey’, an amazing account of one young woman’s search for the presence of Rastafari around the globe. Donisha Prendergast is the granddaughter of Bob and Rita Marley. A representation of the third generation of the Marley family, ready to make her own impact in the world. Donisha visited countries across the globe including the United States, England, Ethiopia, South Africa, India, Canada, Israel, and Jamaica. Her thirst for knowledge is clearly displayed by the depth of her questions during her interviews for the film. Your heart will break along with hers as she discovers the persecution and discrimination others faced practicing the Rastafari way of life. Donisha’s strength and character kept me engaged while watching the film. I learned a great deal about the Rastafari way of life. Just how severe was Leonard Howell, the first Rasta in Jamaica, persecuted for practicing the Rastafari way of life? How are Hindu and Rastafari connected? These answers and more will be uncovered in the film.

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Bob Marley, is referenced though out the film, as those interviewed credit the great musician with introducing the Rastafari culture to the world. Her grandmother, Rita Marley as well as her uncle Damian Marley are interviewed in the film, as well as many others across the globe.

I believe the film is a must see for anyone interested in learning more about the influence of the Rastafari way of life and it’s manifestation around the world. Donisha possesses a type of goddess like energy that will keep you hooked on the film and will leave you wanting more from her. This will surely not be the last we see from Donisha.

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Rasta: A Soul’s Journey will be released on DVD later this fall. Make sure you support this documentary film. I am looking forward to adding this DVD to my collection whenever it is available for sale to the public. I will also be supporting whatever comes next from this beautiful, positive, energy force named Donisha.

I got a chance to ask Donisha a few questions after the NYC screening. Listed below is a glimpse into our conversation.

Island Stage
What led you to become involved in the documentary, Rasta: A Soul’s Journey?

Donisha
The spirit, naturally. It is necessary I feel, for this work to be done.

Island Stage
If you could only explain Rasta in one sentence, what would you say?

Donisha
To explain Rastafari in one sentence is hard. Rastafari is a rebel spirit that travels across borders and finds vehicles to help create the world that we need. To help heal the hurt in the world.

Island Stage
I was thinking Rasta is life and freedom, livity.

Donisha
Justice, freedom, equality, humanity. These elements are Rasta. But really and truly recognize that Rastafari is a rebel spirit that has been traveling well before it’s manifestation. For instance look at Queen Nani of the Maroons, that’s like the late 1700’s, early 1800’s. She was an Ashanti princess that left her queendom and got on a slave ship by choice, not by force, to free her people.

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Island Stage
I recently did an interview with your uncle Julian, The Rastafari Interview, where he noted that Samson was a Nazarite and they were the first known Rasta’s. Now speaking  to you, and thinking of Samson rebelling against the system to free his people.

Read Julian Marley interview here

Donisha
The rebel spirit of Rastafari will manifest itself whenever it must.

Island Stage
You mentioned in an interview that you would have loved to explore Rasta in Haiti. Are there any plans to explore Rasta in Haiti in the future? Seems like an interesting project to explore.

Donisha
I definitely have plans, not just exploring Rastafari there, but uncovering the history of Haiti we don’t know.

Island Stage
What message would you like the audience to walk away from after watching the film?

Donisha
Action, works to do anywhere you are. Create the creation you want to be a part of. Our destiny is in our hands because we are all pieces of Jah. This means we can continue the work they he started. They say the world made in 7 days but there is so much work left to do.

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Island Stage
Are you involved in any projects in Jamaica that you would like to discuss?

Donisha
Manifesto Jamaica is a youth organization I am a Director of. Our mandate is to bridge a gap between the inner city and arts. Uptown and downtown, start discussions, open up resources. We are also working with the youths in Tivoli Gardens to help to heal them as well as ourselves. We (in Jamaica) have been taught so much negativity with regards to that space. Just like here where you can have some negative thoughts about Brooklyn for example, it’s up to us to search beneath the service.

Island Stage
The Rasta & India connection; I read that some aspects of Hinduism were adopted by Rasta’s. What was it like to explore Rasta there?

Donisha
What India revealed to me is that we can’t limit spirituality to the western style that we know now. We must be open to expand our spirituality as we grow. There are some Rasta’s who will not embrace certain things, will not even be involved in certain conversations because they see it as blasphemous in the context of our culture. Being in India made me feel the spirit is so great. That is why Indians and black people of Jamaica can be friends to the point where we can share best practices. Leonard Howell,the first Rasta in Jamaica, was best friends with an East Indian.

Island Stage
Of course I am going purchase the book, The First Rasta tomorrow as part of my research.

Donisha
Also check out the film, ‘The First Rasta’, and ‘Bad Friday’. They both were completed around thesame time of Rasta a Soul’s Journey. (2011)

Island Stage
I have become curious about Empress Menen and her influence on Rasta Women. What influence has the legacy of Empress Menen had on your life?

Donisha
When I walk I feel as if I am an Empress. I walk with her light. My baptismal name translates into ‘Light of Mary’, which is what Empress Menen would have represented in her day. I understand that I must be a reflection of Empress Menen. Just like my grandfather was the representation of the Rasta man, I must represent Rasta women. She has empowered me to realize that women can really lead countries and we do not have to be in the forefront to do so. She stood beside HIS Majesty’s side and helped him develop so many things. So I do not feel like I have anything to prove against a man because I understand balance.

Island Stage
I know you have a company named Sumthing F.E.R.T.I.L.E. Visions. Can you share your company’s vision and what we can expect from the company in the future?

Donisha
Sumthing Fertile means the sum of all things For Every Revolutionary Truth that Inspires Leaders to Educate. The name of the company says Sumthing because you can expect anything from us, it can be anything. I do not yet know what is next; it’s for the spirit to decide.

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Donisha Prendergast Sumthing FERTILE Visions Facebook

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Rasta: A Soul’s Journey Website

Comments
  1. Hillary Newman

    7 years ago

    Where can I see the film in nyc or purchse

    • Maliika Walker

      7 years ago

      The film will be released on DVD this fall. She may bring the film to NYC again as a screening. We will post the upcoming screening locations once we receive them.

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