Crown Prince Zere Yacob Asfa Wossen in T&T
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2002
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Photos: Jermaine Cruickshank
Two articles from Trinidad & Tobago's newspapers
'One love' for young Salassie
By Sateesh Maharaj, Express TT
THE love started long before his arrival.
In knitted tri-colour hats and flowing locks they waited, some for over two hours.
By maxi loads they arrived until the number neared a thousand.
The congregation grew by the minute.
They converged on the arrival area of Piarco International Airport. They wore jerseys with his picture, lit incense and as they greeted each other the salutation was the same: "Jah Rastafari!"
At 2.45 p.m. yesterday Crown Prince Zere Yacob Asfa Wossen—grandson of Haile Selassie-stepped on to Trinidadian soil. His entourage was led up to the VIP section at the airport. There Wossen met local members of the Ethiopian Peace Foundation, of which he is the international head and founder, airport officials and MP Fitzgerald Hinds.
Wossen wore a black suit and Panama straw hat, a stark contrast to the garb of the waiting masses.
As the media cautiously approached him Wossen described his visit as "a mystery" and one of which he was pleased to be a part.
"We feel part of that mystery."
His voice was low and husky, almost secretive.
He described the local followers as family and had a special message for them.
"I see them as my brothers and sisters. We get along. They want to help. Thank you for your interest."
When asked if he was concerned that this government was not doing enough for the Rastafarian movement Wossen smiled: "The Rastafarian movement is a government by itself."
The interview was cut short by a member of his entourage.
Wossen was then led to the faithful.
Many of them were not looking in his direction. Those that saw him were at first sceptical.
"Da’s him? Da’s the man?"
When the realisation hit them the emotion was overwhelming.
"Jah!" Someone shouted.
"Rastafarai!" was the response.
With that they surged forward. Calling his name they broke down in tears. They were kept at bay by airport security but could no longer be restrained as he stepped through sliding glass doors adorned, by his followers, with palm leaves.
They pounced on him; delirious with glee. The melee lasted for almost 15 minutes. To touch him, see if he was really there, make contact with the bloodline of the most high.
Even after he entered an awaiting car the crowd would not budge. It was another fifteen minutes before a path in this sea of people was cleared for his departure.
As the Wossen group left, many scampered to their maxis; desperate not to lose sight of him.
Wossen had his vehicle circle back to wait on them. The motorcade then left the compound.
Many were left too emotional to speak.
Malcolm "Marley" Critchlow filtered his locks through his fingers. Tears flowed freely from his reddened eyes and he was at times incoherent as he tried to express his feelings.
"I start to sweat. Fus I know that is the Lord of lords. Selassie I grandson. Selassie I. Jah! Da's meh blessed soldier. Selassie I. I never knew I would live to see Selassie I grandson in Trinidad and Tobago."
MP Hinds then expressed his own emotions.
"The most happy feeling that has come over me for a long time; from birth maybe. This is a real blessing. I am extremely happy to have welcomed His Majesty to our land. We are happy to have him. I say so on behalf of all the thousands gathered here today. Rastafari."
He then explained the significance of such a visit.
"It is extremely important. Ethiopia is the cradle of human civilisation. His Majesty is from a line of kings from David, from Solomon. We are blessed in Trinidad and Tobago to have such royalty walk on our land."
Clyde "Trini Levi" Noel, representative from the 12 tribes of Israel in Trinidad, called the event "history in the making."
He said: "We the Rastafarians in Trinidad are determined to go to Africa. He came here for all those Africans who desire to return to Ethiopia.
"That is why the Ethiopian Peace Foundation has come about, to foster brotherhoodly love and unity amongst all nations and direct all those that want to return to Africa to let them know that they have a haven in Ethiopia."
He described Rastafarianism as "life" adding: "We come to show Christ in his kingly character. We hold on to the lineage of David. We know once we hold on to that lineage we are in order. That is what we want. We want to be in order with the Father. One with the Father. Owning one spirit, one love, one God, one aim, one destiny. Rastafari."
Copyright (c) Trinidad Express
Reproduced on RastafariTimes.com by consent of Trinidad Express
Rastas rush to see Selassie grandson
Rastafarians rush after the car in which Zerah Yacob Asfa Wossen, grandson of Haile Selassie I, was escorted from the Piarco International Airport yesterday. The Ethiopian prince is due to meet with Prime Minister Patrick Manning today.
Hundreds of Rastafarians from various Rastafarian communities rushed to greet grandson of Haile Selassie I, Zerah Yacob Asfa Wossen, on his arrival at Piarco International Airport yesterday.
MP for Laventille East/Morvant Fitzgerald Hinds was also jostled in the melee as he and several others came in their numbers to greet the Crown Prince, who is expected to stay until December 10.
When the Crown Prince arrived at at 2.45 pm, he was met by the enthusiastic crowd, most wearing Rastafarian colours.
The crowd created havoc as they lunged forward to touch the prince. Despite the melee, the event was obviously a joyous occasion, as several of them, including young children, could not contain their emotions.
The prince was escorted to the VIP lounge where he met six Rastafarian leaders.
He was later whisked away by a motorcade to the 12 Tribes of Israel headquarters in Diego Martin.
The prince is to be officially welcomed by Prime Minister Patrick Manning at a function at St Clement’s Church, Ste Madeleine today.
It is the first of many events, including a concert, planned for his three-week visit.
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