In memory of Ras Bandele Selassie

Today, we are proud and humbled to honour the memory of Ras Bandele Selassie.  In the words of Cleo Lake, "It is with great sadness yet also immense gratitude for a life well lived with impact, vibrancy and service, that I share the news that our esteemed forever youthful elder Ras Bandele Selassie, today became an ancestor.  Forever in our hearts and community.  May we take forward the many gifts as part of his legacy."

Ras Bandele Selassie served the community for more than 40 years.  He said that the spiritual and community importance of the Rastafari Culture Centre could not be put in words. "People from all walks of life come to the centre, from university students to people struggling with poor mental health, to people coming from prison. They all come here to calm down. It is used as the peoples' safe space. It is the only Black space in the community that is open for anybody to just come and be. People come in to be peaceful and listen to some community reasoning. It is a healing place."   

In 2020, the community successfully campaigned to stop the Rastafari Culture Centre from being turned into flats. After the Stop the Sale petition gained more than 5,000 signatures, Bristol City Council agreed to let the family purchase the premises. In 2023, Bridging Histories supported Ras Bandele's family with a crowdfunder to raise £20,000, to help protect the Rastafari Culture Centre in St. Paul's. Thanks to your generous gifts, and one incredibly generous anonymous donor in particular, the family were able to purchase the premises in February 2024, securing the space for ongoing use as a Rastafari community centre.

We thank you

You helped protect the Rastafari Culture Centre. You:

Photo credits:  Khali Akmed

Share and hear testimonials!

Do you have memories of Ras Bandele Selassie, or memories from time you've spent at the Rastafari Culture Centre?  We'd love to hear them - we are collecting your stories to help preserve this extraordinary heritage.  Share your memories here, in words and photos. If you'd like to record a video instead, that would be wonderful - please upload to your own YouTube and send a link, or else send by WeTransfer to


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