Jamaica: Rastas Condemn ‘Junjo’, Lice Stigma

Rastafarians demonstrate in front of the Ministry of Education headquarters at National Heroes Circle, Kingston, on Tuesday to protest discrimination against the wearing of locked hair in schools. The protest was sparked by the July 31 Supreme Court ruling

Using the controversial July 31 Supreme Court ruling in a case that centred on the wearing of dreadlocks and the right to self-expression, Rastafarians charged on Tuesday that religious adherents continue to face discrimination.

They have particularly taken umbrage to the notion, cited in court documents, that people with dreadlocks are more vulnerable to infestation of lice and ‘junjo’, Jamaican vernacular for mould or mildew.

Rastafarians mounted protests on Tuesday in front of the Ministry of Education’s offices in Jamaica’s two cities – Kingston in the east and Montego Bay in the west – in reaction to the ruling that the constitutional rights of a then five-year-old girl with locks were not breached in 2018 when Kensington Primary threatened to deny her access to school based on her hairstyle.

Though the child is not Rastafarian, the Rastafarian Gardens Benevolent Society said that the onus is now on the Government to embark on a public-education campaign to counter what they believe is a fallacy lacking supporting scientific evidence.


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