That the Headmistress of Achimota School erred in her direction to let the Rastafarian entrant shave off his locks before being admitted? And that it's tantamount to stifling religious freedom if the boy is not allowed to wear the locks at school?
Before I proceed, let me ask these fundamental questions. Does one's belief only manifest in what he wears or don't wear? Must you automatically wear locks before you'll be known as a Rastafarian?
Are baldheaded people then barred from being Rastafarians? Emperor Haile Selassie I, a.k.a Ras Tafari Makonnen, the former ruler of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) upon whom the Rastafarian religion is based, was he wearing locks? Was he then impure because he didn't wear locks, and yet the Rastafarians see him as a messenger from the Almighty God?
Look, in every institution, there are codes of conduct which becomes the fulcrum for a proper functioning and productivity.
In the military, there is a level to which you'll maintain your hair, especially for the newly recruits. This is basically done to conform the recruits to the standard of training they'll go through.
I don't know if now that it has changed, but in Jamaica where it's the heartland of Rastafarianism, I seldom see people with locks play in the national football team, the Reggae Boyz. There should be a reason for that. Isn't it?
Come to the Achimota school issue. Are the Rastafarians aware that a ward moving from the house to another home in the school means there are trainings and activities s/he will be undertaking as dictates the school's codes of conduct?
I know people who wear locks and tell me how it takes time and money to maintain the hairs if it wouldn't go bad.
Should the student then be allowed to wear the locks and seek permission to visit the salon to maintain it always at the time s/he will be needed for school activities? Or they should in such circumstances be exempted from what the school needs them for?
The Ghana Education Service (GES ) can't always be a puppet of the public's whims and caprices. A school is a place to form a character. And Achimota school do have the right in accordance to Ghana's supreme constitution to lay out rules and regulations to guide entrants.
If a group of people find it difficult to follow, they can do as do the Catholics and other faiths, having their mission schools that allow students to go about with their rosaries and other Catholic paraphernalia.
Where there is law, we don't go about forcing our ways through and be worshipped as the law.
I side with the teacher union (National Association of Graduate Teachers - NAGRAT), if the parents of the Rastafarian boy deem it infringement on their religious freedom, they should seek redress in the court.
Long live a discipline Ghana!
Written by: Charles Yeboah (Sir Lord)