In the heart of the Garden Route, just outside of Knysna, you’ll find a bustling and sustainable Rastafarian community. Members are committed to conserving the surrounding area and living an overall better way of life, while staying true to their Rastafarian ideals.
History of Judah Square
Judah Square was established in 1993 in Knysna’s Khayalethu Township and is the largest working Rastafarian community in South Africa.
After being granted title deeds to the land, the community established Judah Square into a formal settlement which houses a variety of different organisations, within the Rastafarian belief system.
After the initial establishment of Judah Square, the Rastafari formed House of Judah (HOJ), a co-op that’s involved with different community projects as well as the Knysna Municipality, SANParks, Cape Nature and more.
Running a sustainable community
Each community member pays an annual membership fee of R50-R100 (£2.90-£5.80) and a further R1 (£0.06) a day. These contributions are used for the upkeep and general maintenance of the community.
There are also monthly meetings where members can express any concerns or ideas they might have to benefit the community. As far as community interaction goes, morning prayers – held in the tabernacle by The Nyabinghi Order – can be heard from far away and on the first Saturday of each month a large church service is held, welcoming Rastafaris from all over.
When members of the community relocate from Judah Square, their property has to be sold while ensuring the community stays true to its cultural ethics. The decision, therefore, is completely up to the HOJ council. First, an existing member can choose to buy the property; only once it’s established that no members are interested will an outsider Rastafarian be considered. The council also has to agree on any new members who wish to join the community.
Celebrating Earth Day
Earth Day is one of the most celebrated events at Judah Square and is open to anyone who wants to attend, whether Rastafari or not. The celebration entails seven days of worship and a further three days of music, food and culture. The event is open to the public and is a fantastic way to experience the Rasta way of life firsthand.