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Kenyan High Court makes landmark ruling on Rastafarianism

Dreadlocks caused a member of the community to be thrown out of school

Rastafarianism is a religion like any other - High Court rules in case of Olympic High School versus Makeda Ndinda

The High Court of Kenya has rubber-stamped the status of Rastafarianism as a religion recognized and protected by law in Kenya.

In a ruling made on Friday, the court faulted Olympic High School, Kibera for throwing out a student based on her choice of hair style.

Ms Makeda Ndinda was ordered to shave of her dreadlocks in order to gain admission into the school despite having explained that her choice in hair style was informed by her religious beliefs.


Makeda's father moved to court following the incident and argued that she had gone through primary school at Shadrack Kimalel Primary School, Ngumo with the dreadlocks and they had never caused her to be thrown out of school.

Makeda Ndinda allowed back at Olympic High School

"I have sought audience with the deputy head teacher, headmaster and education officer based in Kibra and explained that the dreadlocks are as a result of cultural and religious beliefs and no one has listened to us," the Rastafarian faithful narrated in court papers.

Following the initial hearing of the suit in January 2019, Justice Chacha Mwita ordered the student to be enrolled in the school pending the determination of the case.

The orders further required Makeda to keep her dreadlocks wrapped in her black turban at all times while in the school.


The High Court judge found that the demand by the high school's board was unlawful, stating that Rastafarianism should be treated as any other religion in Kenya.


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