Now you Can Haffi Dread and be Rasta in Kenya, Court Rules

Ban on dreadlocks lifted

Article 30 (1) of the Kenyan Constitution states that every person has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion. In January, a Rastafarian father took the Education ministry and Olympic High School in Kibra to court, seeking to compel them to admit his daughter to Form One without shaving her dreadlocks.

The father claimed that his daughter wears dreadlocks as part of her Rastafarian religion and not as a fashion statement and should not be forced to shave them off. His daughter, despite having paid school fees, was allegedly condemned for having dreadlocks and was directed that she only comes back to school after shaving off her locks.

In his suit papers, the father said that the action of the school amounts to discrimination on the basis of her Rastafarian beliefs.

“A child has a constitutional right to basic education. Keeping rastas is her way of professing her faith and it’s wrong to compel her to shave which is against her religion,” his suit read.

Making a judgement on the matter today, the high court ruled in the girl’s favour declaring that Rastafarianism is a religion just like any other and they should be treated like the rest.

Justice Chacha Mwita said that the decision by Olympic High School to exclude her from school because of her dreadlocks is unconstitutional, saying it’s a manifestation of her religion.

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