Watch video of His Imperial Majesty (H.I.M) Haile Salassie I visit to Jamaica on this day in history (April 21, 1966).
On 21 April 1966, an event of extraordinary significance was to occur for all followers of Rastafari. His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, was due to arrive at Kingston airport. Away in Delaware at the time, Bob Marley had written to his wife Rita: ‘If possible, go and see for yourself.’
From her vantage point on Winward Road, which leads in from Palisadoes airport, Rita Marley had what was perhaps the most profound of many remarkable, God-given experiences she would enjoy in her life.
Seated in Governor-General Clifford Campbell’s purring official limousine, Haile Selassie was driven into Kingston. Rita eased her way to the front of the crowd on this section of the Winward Road and stood in the warm, light rain, waiting for the car to come nearer. Rita was anxious. She had made a secret pact: if, somehow, she saw the sign she was looking for, she would accept the divine status of Haile Selassie.
As the Daimler limousine drew parallel with her, Rita’s thoughts were not positive. “How is it they are saying that this man is so great,” she wondered, “when he looks so short, with his army hat over his head in such a way I can’t even see his eyes.”
“Then I said to myself, ‘What am I even thinking about? Jesus is a spirit.'” At that exact moment Haile Selassie raised his face: he looked directly into Rita’s eyes and waved. “And I looked into his hand and there was the nail-print. It was a mark, and I could only identify that mark with the scriptures of history, saying, ‘When you see him, you will know him by the nail-print in his hands.'”
“So when I saw this, I said to myself that this could be true, this could be the man of whom it was said: ‘before the year 2,000 Christ will be a man walking on this earth.'”