Abstract – Issue CQ 58, no. 4 (December 2012)
Leonard P. Howell’s Leadership of the Rastafari Movement and His “Missing Years” – Daive Dunkley
There has been quite a lot of interest in Rastafari’s founding leader, Leonard Percival Howell, in recent years. However, much of his approach to leadership and its impact on Jamaica during the anticolonial struggles of the 1930s to the 1960s are still to be sufficiently explored. In addition, almost nothing is known about Howell’s life after 1958 until his death in 1981, especially during the immediate postcolonial period which began in 1962. In fact, this period has been referred to as “his missing years.” In this article, using an analysis of Howell’s leadership of the Rastafari in late British Jamaica, I also examine his postcolonial activities and evaluate the claim that he can be described as “missing” during the postcolonial period. By interrogating the idea that Howell withdrew into the background, the article departs from the notion of a retreat and instead argues for Howell’s activities to be considered as an alternative approach to his leadership of the first Rastas. Most certainly his adversaries, for one, would not allow him to be seen in any role except that of leader of the Rastafari movement..