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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X

Abstract

MHANGO, Mtendeweka Owen. Upholding the Rastafari religion in Zimbabwe: Farai Dzvova v Minister of Education, Sports and Culture and Others. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2008, vol.8, n.1, pp.221-238. ISSN 1996-2096.

This discussion deals with a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, ruling that the expulsion of six year-old Farai Dzvova from the Ruvheneko Government Primary School because of his expression of his religious belief through wearing dreadlocks is a contravention of section 19 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. This contribution argues that the judgment in Farai is progressive and should be welcomed. It further argues that the reasoning by Cheda J, demonstrating why Rastafari qualifies as a religion under section 19 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, should be welcomed particularly as progressively realising and promoting religious rights in Zimbabwe, and that it adds to the growing progressive religious jurisprudence in Southern Africa. It is further noted that the decision will likely have the effect of reversing similar rules or regulations which prohibit Rastafari learners from attending public schools on account of their dreadlocks in Southern Africa. The contribution criticises previous decisions by the Zimbabwe Supreme Court and the South African Constitutional Court that recognised Rastafari as a religion without explaining why this was done.

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