A life dedicated to serve and praise Jah

Ras Gabrial Michael, real name Thabang Mhlongo, has been in the Rastafarian movement for the past 19 years, since an early age while growing up in the dusty roads of Alexandra township.

Just like thousands of Rastas in South Africa, Ras has been in-and-out of prison for being in possession of marijuana, that he refers to as ganja.

MARIJUANA: Ras fastens a bunch of marijuana to his forehead as he has been doing for the past 13 years. Credit: INLSA

He has been arrested and taken to the nearest hair salon where his dreadlocks have been cut off because they thought he was insane.

He says this has happened more than three times, but he always grows his hair back as his religion dictates he wears dreadlocks.

Ras carries a spear when he walks around in his neighbourhood. The spear symbolises a way of life and a sign of being born again. He is now on to his fifth one as the other four were confiscated by the police.

The spear came to Ras in a dream while in his early stages of Rastafarianism.

He quotes Genesis chapter 3 verse 24: “So he drove out the man, and placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.”