High Court Makes Landmark Ruling on Religion

  • The High Court in Nairobi on Friday, September 13, made a ruling in the case of a minor denied admission to a public school based on her hairstyle choice. A decision that reasserts the protection of the religious rights of Rastafarians. 

    Makeda Ndinda was required by the Olympic High School to shave her dreadlocks before being enrolled to the institution located in Kibra Constituency.

    Justice Chacha Mwita ruled that the demand by the school was unconstitutional because her dreadlocks were of significance to her faith.

    The court also made it clear that Rastafarianism was a religion like any other.

    A group of Rastafarian faithfuls at the Milimani law courts.

    The case had been filed by the girl's father who argued that the locks were part of her religion and not a fashion statement.

    "A child has a constitutional right to basic education"

    "Keeping rastas [dreadlocks] is her way of professing her faith and it's wrong to compel her to shave which is against her religion," Justice Mwita stated at Milimani Courts.

    The girl's parent also argued that the action by the school amounted to religious discrimination against the Rastafarians.

    Back in January 2019, Justice Mwita had ruled that Ndinda be enrolled into the school awaiting the determination of the case.

    The orders further required her to keep the dreadlocks wrapped in a black turban at all times while in the school.

    "I have sought an audience with the deputy headteacher, headmaster and education officer based in Kibra and explained that the dreadlocks are as a result of cultural and religious beliefs and no one has listened to us," the family argued in court.

    Article 30 (1) of the Constitution states that every person has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.

    Makeda Ndinda's dreadlocks