Shashemene town lies 150 miles (240 km) from the capital of Addis Ababa. It is a town situated at southern Ethiopia’s most important junction, which connects north to south and east to west. The Rastafarian settlement blend with the locals creates a distinct city in Ethiopia and a dreamland for a visitor who is genuinely interested in the Ras Tafari.
The Black Lion Musuem is one of the highlights of the town and it more like a family home with colourful and honourable painting of the Shashemene’s Rastafarian History.
In 1948 Emperor Haile Selassie I offered 500 acres of his private land to allow members of the Rastafari movement, Ethiopian World federation (EWF) officers and members and other settlers from Jamaica and other part of the Caribbean to go to Africa. Thus this is when and where the fascinating history of Rastafari and Shashemene starts and one of the reasons why Emperor Haile Selassie is one of the favourite subjects of the paintings at The Black Lion Museum.
In February 2005 Shashemene hosted a big event which invited thousands during part of the ‘Africa Unite’ celebrations organized by African Union, UNICEF and Rita Marley (Bob Marley’s Widow).
Including The Balck Lion Museum, Shashemene encompasses other interesting tourist attractions for visitors who want to learn more about the Ras Tafari history and Jamaica in Ethiopia. The Zion Train Loge and Banana Art Gallery are best places to begin this exciting exploration in Shashemene town.
Shashemene is so much more than a small group of Rastafarians and their families. The town is truly unique in languages, religious, music, and identities.
It is a home to more than 100,000 in habitants, orthodox churches and Mosques and an interesting neighbourhood with Shashemene’s Rastafarian community, locally known as JAMAICA.