THE HALLMARK OF THE ITAL QUALITY OF DUB POETRY JAH ROOTSMAN IS GENERATING, IS PUSHING THE BOUNDRIES IN POETRY RENDITION BY SHIFTING THE PARADIGMS OF POETRY AND DUB.
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In and around Eersterust, his hometown ina Pretoria, they call him 'Rasta', 'Jahman' the 'Prophet' but he prefers to be called 'Jah Rootsman', his anointed name and Togetherness, Peace and Love are his principles and cornerstone.
Being one of the founding fathers of Rastafari in South Africa, he became the spiritual leader for Rastas and non-Rastas, not only in Eersterust, but also to his Rastafarian followers all over the African continent. From the Cape, up to places and countries as far
afield as Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana and Zimbabwe.
Jah Rootsman or Johnny Mash, (his Babylon name), gained a nationwide following for his 'Dub-Poetry', of which so far, he is still
the only one in the country. He was also the first to utilize the Jamaican dialect (patois), in his home grown poetry to fuse it
with the Reggae Dub Riddim.
During the heydays of apartheid, being a conscious activist, Rootsman used to recite his protest poetry in community halls and clandestine gatherings in the townships; to the chagrin of the ignoble authorities, who would retaliate with dogs,
batons and teargas.
Because Jah Rootsman can seamless and effortlessly fuse and integrate his Dub Poetry with the Reggae Dub Riddim, it blurs the
fact that in 1971 he was a student at the University of Western Cape and that his vast Dub collection is unparallel in the country.
In those early years of Dubs and Sessions, Rootsman was the first in the country to introduce the open Mic at the numerous dubs
ina 'im ghetto and with the Twelve Tribes, the country’s first official Niyabhingi was also celebrated ina him yard.
In December 1985, directly from Germany, he became one of the first and few South Africans to visit the Caribbean Islands,
including revolutionary Cuba, impoverished Haiti, laid-back Dominican Republic and the beautiful Jamaica, where he received his 'grounation' from mentors such as Ras Michael, Sister Nancy, Mikey Smith, Bredda Joseph and many more others who blessed and inspired him to become what he is today - a Lion of legendary status inna Babylon. Above all, it was Linton Kwesi Johnson who created
the Dub-Poet in him.
In 1986, potpourri afforded him his debut as a then proclaimed Dub-Poet. This was followed with further appearances on local
television, the Black Sun, The Warehouse, Zimbabwe, Durban, Swaziland and various cultural and political occasions countrywide.
He has also been involved with E.S.P. programs at Wits University and in poetry discussions at high schools around the country.
In 1987 he opened the Island Coffee Bar in Eersterust, where Rastas from all over the land came to pay homage.
The 1988 T.O.M.S./ROLAND/RADIO 5/ Demo Competition commended him with a certificate for his concerted effort in supporting
the South African Music Revolution.
In 1989, he did a showcase on his mentor, Linton Kwesi Johnson at the Windybrow theatre in Hillbrow, and in 1990, took part in that
Potpourri festival. In May of that year, he was also awarded a Certificate for Best Actor in the play 'A Shrink for Azania' written by
his friend, Robert Pearce.
During the winter of 1992, he appeared at Kippies featuring in 'Dub Poetry - The Caribbean Connection'
The Congress of South African Writers presented 'Literature to the Public' in Feb, 1993 where he shared a stage with acclaimed
artists like Vusi Mahlasela, Jenny Goosen, Nape Motana and others.
Later that same year, 1993, he again visited Germany, touring the country from Berlin to Munich and in 1994 he performed with LKJ
at the Tesson Theatre in Johannesburg.
March 1995, he was with Lesego Rampolokeng and Benjamin Zephaniah, a British Dub-Poet, at the Mega Music Warehouse in
Newtown Johannesburg and also performed for President Mandela in Eersterust in June of that year.
In September of 1995, he organised the most successful Rastafari march in Pretoria against the forces of Babylon in the history of
Rastafari in South Africa.
During the winter of '96, he opened the 'Africa Day Peace Concert' for Eric Donaldson, Andrew Tosh, Don Carlos and the
Roots Radics Band at the Johannesburg Stadium.
On 12th October 1996, he main-evented the "Reggae SunSplash" at Ting Country, organised by Tings an Tymes in Pretoria, sharing the
stage with icons like Carlos Djedje.
1997 saw him as the main feature at the Poetry Festival, "Week of the Poets" at the State Theatre, Pretoria.
Between 1998 and 2003, Jah Rootsman lost his two sons to murder, his beloved sister to cancer, suffered an acrimonious divorce, went
to jail on a trump up charge and almost also lost his house and personality. During that crucial traumatic phase, his life was radically
and forever transformed, educing into a profound spiritual rebirth. In a renewed sense of perceptive awareness; he re-invented
himself and advanced to a level of intuitive, holistic and lateral thought cognition, effective on a 3rd dimension. Some call it the
THIRD EYE. He became: "A MAN OF HIGHER REASONING"
1999 and 2000 brought him into closer contact with the children of Tafari all over the world via the World Wide Web or the Internet.
On 4th of May 2001, he again organized the second, largest and last March for Rastafari in South Africa.
His poem, 'Fear not gentle Dove' was chosen from among 33 other poets worldwide in Dec, 2001, and included in the Poetry Collection,
”The Sound of Poetry” by the International Library of Poetry; 'for having that expressive quality that can only be appreciated
not only in print, but through the spoken word as well'.
His friend, Anthony 'Speedo' Wilson, an Eersterust actor/playwright, wrote and directed a musical called 'Die Afspringers' in 2002,
influenced by Rootsman’s poem titled 'Eersterust'.
The Poetry Institute of Africa, in 2006, published his poem 'I miss in the Morning', in the anthology 'Soulfully Seeking'.
After more than two decades under the bitter yoke of babylon, Rootsman consciously freed himself, when in August 2008, saw the
completion of the most startling, provocative, explosive and conscious poetry at it’s best, in the form of his debut Dub Poetry CD titled,
'Poems from the Krypt'. The polemic, hardcore poetry CD together with the artistic brilliance in audio/visual poetry rendition of the
complimentary, enigmatic videos from the same CD called: 'Visions from the Krypt', including the controversial:
'YOUR REDEMPTION- the Vid'.
All the videos currently feature on ‘youtube’, ‘myspace’, ‘facebook’ and various other interactive sites. The audio poems are on sites
like, ‘reggaedubwise’, ‘revolutionarydubgathers' and other reggae sites on the Internet, where he has received much
acclaim and exaltation.
At the end of November 2008, Rootsman’s efforts on the creation of his poetry CD: 'Poems from the Krypt' were recognized through an
interview on SABC News International on Rendezvous Africa to a WORLD WIDE audience.
October 2009, a year after the debut of "POEMS FROM THE KRYPT", the release of "DREAD MAN CHANT", a compilation of famous
speeches by great men like, 'Mandela, Obama, Christ, Mbeki, H I M, Gibran, Garvey and Max Ehrmann', mixed in the inimitable
Dub Poetic flare of THE WORDSMITH emerged, together with the arousing and provocative video:
"I AM AN AFRICAN"
All tracks FYA KILLAS - NAH RAAS FILLAS
Again, all tracks reached the No 1 spot in the charts of sites like reggaedubwise.com
Jah Rootsman, besides the Hon. Bob Marley, is the only reggae artist who, with boldness and vision, successfully adapted
His Imperial Majesty, King Haile Selassie I's 1969 UN Address to him own DUB POETRY RIDDIM called HAILE SELASSIE CHANT
2011 and Jah Rootsman once again exceeded his own expectations, muchto the delight of his fans, with the release of his third
Dub Poetry CD titled "THE ORACLE", including a range of videos for the entire 10 tracks, which, with his usual aplomb; has received
once more, unlimited accolades. By end of July 2011, Jah Rootsman had published a slew of fresh videos of his works.
Over the years, being the only consistent Dub Poet in the country, Jah Rootsman has slowly but steadily built a solid foundation of
admirers and a strong fan base support, locally and internationally. Though, most of it is centred in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria;
by the youth, who have come to apprecilove his Wisdom, Maturity and Intrepidity and the elders for his unwavering Integrity.
Once again, in his quest for inity amongst Rastafari, Jah Rootsman was central and played a pivotal role, together with the Mamelodi
House of Rastafari Elders, in the planning, execution and hosting of the "AFRICA LIBERATION DAY 2012", at the King Haile Selassie I
Village in Mamelodi, from the 25 to 27 May 2012; where all the Houses gathered, including prominant members from the Iyahspora
Jah Rootsman, Ambassador, Icon and Inspiration; is a Highly Respected Josephite Elder, and a dedicated, committed and disciplined
follower of H I M without compromise, regret or apology. He subscribes to his own principles of
KINDNESS, HONESTY, INTEGRITY, RIGHTEOUSNESS and LOYALTY
According to Emode's Ultimate XQ test in 2003, Rootsman’s IQ score of 121 is scientifically accurate. From the four
different types of questions answered - Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Linguistic and Logical we can tell your Intellectual Type
is a Word Warrior.
"This means you have exceptional verbal skills. You can easily make sense of complex issues and take an unusually creative
approach to solving problems. Your strengths also make you a visionary. Even without trying, you are able to come up with
lots of new and creative ideas.
Through your esoterical intuition, you have gained the gift of awareness and are deeply tuned into the immense possibilities
of a life that we can’t see...
It is clear that you possess incredible qualities, which keep surfacing over and over again in your life:
Courage, Hope, Empathy, Wisdom, Intelligence, Compassion, and most importantly, your desire for