Selassie's coronation was attended by representatives from 72 nations, an unprecedented number symbolic of the industrial progress that Ras Tafari had promised to bring to an impoverished Africa. Time magazine reported on the event, and in the following June's issue of National Geographic, 67 pages were devoted to the country and its new Emperor, including several color photographs. While giving me a private tour of the Discovering Rastafari! exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History, curator and friend Jake Homiak showed me a copy of this National Geographic issue and told me that some of the first Rastas would walk around the streets of Kingston, evangelizing, carrying a Bible in one hand and the National Geographic in the other, showing people how the coronation fulfilled a series of events in Revelation. While, for the Ethiopians, the rituals performed in this coronation were virtually identical to those of previous emperors, the circumstances surrounding this occasion, in the view of some Africans in diaspora, allowed for a certain eschatological interpretation. Thus the Rastafari faith was born among black Jamaicans who awaited their Savior.
Here is a brief slideshow of photos from the coronation in Addis Ababa, November 2, 1930, accompanied by Nyahbinghi chanting.
Enjoy - or as the Rastafari would say, "Fulljoy!" For all of my friends out there who follow Rasta, may you have a blessed Coronation Day!