Rasta Man in da House

Benjamin Zephaniah


He’s a vegan, he’s been in jail, he was born in Birmingham and raised in Jamaica, he lives in England, he is a friend of Nelson Mandela, he refused an OBE in 2003. He writes amazing dub poetry.

Benjamin Zephaniah. Tonight only. 5:30pm British Council. Free entrance. You will not be disappointed.

I am really excited by this. I missed him last time he was here. I didn’t even know who he was until later. Then I started reading some of his stuff on the interenet and I loved it. I remember hearing this Rasta poet on BBC when I was a teen and really really loving it. I think it must be the same guy. The way he reads it is so so great. It’s all Rasta, mon.


Here’s a little sample of two poems I really like. Imagine these being read by a Rastafarian with dreadlocks and a Jamaican accent.  

White Comedy by Benjamin Zephaniah
(from ‘Propa Propaganda’)

I waz whitemailed
By a white witch,
Wid white magic
An white lies,
Branded by a white sheep
I slaved as a whitesmith
Near a white spot
Where I suffered whitewater fever.
Whitelisted as a whiteleg
I waz in de white book
As a master of white art,
It waz like white death.

People called me white jack
Some hailed me as a white wog,
So I joined de white watch
Trained as a white guard
Lived off the white economy.
Caught and beaten by de whiteshirts
I waz condemned to a white mass,
Don’t worry,
I shall be writing to de Black House.
Talking Turkeys by Benjamin Zephaniah

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas
Cos’ turkeys just wanna hav fun
Turkeys are cool, turkeys are wicked
An every turkey has a Mum.
Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas,
Don’t eat it, keep it alive,
It could be yu mate, an not on your plate
Say, Yo! Turkey I’m on your side.
I got lots of friends who are turkeys
An all of dem fear christmas time,
Dey wanna enjoy it, dey say humans destroyed it
An humans are out of dere mind,
Yeah, I got lots of friends who are turkeys
Dey all hav a right to a life,
Not to be caged up an genetically made up
By any farmer an his wife.

Turkeys just wanna play reggae
Turkeys just wanna hip-hop
Can yu imagine a nice young turkey saying,
‘I cannot wait for de chop’,
Turkeys like getting presents, dey wanna watch christmas TV,
Turkeys hav brains an turkeys feel pain
In many ways like yu an me.

I once knew a turkey called…Turkey
He said “Benji explain to me please,
Who put de turkey in christmas
An what happens to christmas trees?”,
I said “I am not too sure turkey
But itÕs nothing to do wid Christ Mass
Humans get greedy an waste more dan need be
An business men mek loadsa cash’.

Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
Invite dem indoors fe sum greens
Let dem eat cake an let dem partake
In a plate of organic grown beans,
Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
An spare dem de cut of de knife,
Join Turkeys United an dey’ll be delighted
An yu will mek new friends ‘FOR LIFE’.
More here: http://www.benjaminzephaniah.com/rhymin.html#talking

Dese tings, dem big.


2 thoughts on “Rasta Man in da House

  1. So how was it? Did it live up to your expectations? Quite apart from the fact that I enjoyed the poem you have attached in your post, I must say I find the Rastafarian ideology amazingly resistant to logical reasoning. After all, it’s been 30 years since Haile Selassie’s death and still no come back to liberate Africa. Curious. I hope your interest in this group is purely for aesthetic purposes.
    Thank you for reading.

  2. I read your auto biography and i live in london,islington and i am your number 1 fan come to my house and celebrate.This is Ritchie.

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