Shashamane is a town in central Ethiopia. It is located in the Misraq Shewa Zone of 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.

Rastafari and Shashamane

In 1948 Emperor Haile Selassie I donated 500 acres (2.0 sq km) of his private land to allow members of the Rastafari movement, Ethiopian 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. The official letter confirming the "land grant" of 1948 was submitted to the members and executives of the Ethiopian World Federation in 1955. In 1961, the Jamaican government sent a delegation composed of both Rastafari and non-Rastafarian leaders to Ethiopia to discuss the matter of repatriation, among other issues, with the Emperor. He reportedly told the Rastafarian delegation, "Tell the Brethren to be not dismayed, I personally will give my assistance in the matter of repatriation".

On his 1966 visit to Jamaica, Haile Selassie reportedly encouraged Rastafarian leaders to repatriate to Shashemene, but stressed that there was still important work to do in liberating Jamaica. It was within a couple of years that a moderate trickle of Rastafarian immigrants began, with the population swelling past 2000 at one point. In fact, it was recently reported that their numbers have dwindled from more than 2,000 to fewer than 300.

It is said that Haile Selassie stopped his imperial motorcade when passing the Shashemene settlement once circa 1968, gotten out, and asked "Where are my people?" Local Rastafarians stepped forth and replied "Here we are Your Majesty, here we are" and "Hail to the Lord’s Anointed Great David’s Greater Son here in this time appointed his reign on earth begun", bowing profusely. He asked them if there was anything they wanted, and they replied, "We want to stay here your Majesty". The Emperor then responded "Really, well why not, why not, let them stay". In the words of one Rastafarian resident on the land for nearly 40 years "says he's not going anywhere".

Conflict With the Communists

See Ethiopian-Soviet War

In 1978 the Soviet Union, along with military aid & support from Cuba, East Germany, North Korea, and several other Communist states declaired war on Ethiopia and invaded from the east from Somolia (Who Supported The Soviets).

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