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Most of those living in Judah Square work in Knysna, and the community as a whole contributes greatly to conservation in the surrounding area  | Courtesy of Judah Square
Most of those living in Judah Square work in Knysna, and the community as a whole contributes greatly to conservation in the surrounding area | Courtesy of Judah Square

Welcome to Knysna, South Africa's Largest Rastafarian Community

Picture of Carina Claassens
Updated: 14 June 2017
In the heart of the Garden Route, just outside of Knysna, you’ll find a bustling and sustainable Rastafarian community. Members are committed to conserving the surrounding area and living an overall better way of life, while staying true to their Rastafarian ideals.

History of Judah Square

Judah Square was established in 1993 in Knysna’s Khayalethu Township and is the largest working Rastafarian community in South Africa.

After being granted title deeds to the land, the community established Judah Square into a formal settlement which houses a variety of different organisations, within the Rastafarian belief system.

After the initial establishment of Judah Square, the Rastafari formed House of Judah (HOJ), a co-op that’s involved with different community projects as well as the Knysna Municipality, SANParks, Cape Nature and more.

Rastafari men in Judah Square

From youth programmes to fundraising through arts and crafts, everyone in the community works together to foster a peaceful lifestyle | Courtesy of Judah Square

Running a sustainable community

Each community member pays an annual membership fee of R50-R100 (£2.90-£5.80) and a further R1 (£0.06) a day. These contributions are used for the upkeep and general maintenance of the community.

There are also monthly meetings where members can express any concerns or ideas they might have to benefit the community. As far as community interaction goes, morning prayers – held in the tabernacle by The Nyabinghi Order – can be heard from far away and on the first Saturday of each month a large church service is held, welcoming Rastafaris from all over.

When members of the community relocate from Judah Square, their property has to be sold while ensuring the community stays true to its cultural ethics. The decision, therefore, is completely up to the HOJ council. First, an existing member can choose to buy the property; only once it’s established that no members are interested will an outsider Rastafarian be considered. The council also has to agree on any new members who wish to join the community.

House of Judah

An on-going project by HOJ involves cleaning the Khayalethu River and building an information centre | Courtesy of Judah Square

Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day is one of the most celebrated events at Judah Square and is open to anyone who wants to attend, whether Rastafari or not. The celebration entails seven days of worship and a further three days of music, food and culture. The event is open to the public and is a fantastic way to experience the Rasta way of life firsthand.

Want to visit?

Tours are the community’s biggest source of income, and can be booked by contacting Brother Zebulon on (+27) 76 649 1034. Visitors are guided through Judah Square while being educated about the Rastafari way of life and can even spend an evening in the local B&B.

Earth Day celebrations

The annual Earth Day celebration is one of the main events at Judah Square | Courtesy of Judah Square