My Ras Tafari Roots

a film by David Verhaeghe
The search of his roots leads Belgian director David Verhaeghe to the court of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie

David Verhaeghe goes in search of the truth behind a big family mystery, together with his mother Concetta: is he great-grandson to the legendary emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, born Ras Tafari Makkonen, divine and pivotal figure of a religion named after him? 

This documentary shows the fascinating and intensive search of a young European and his Ethiopia-born mother who go in search of David’s African roots via forgotten family members in Italy and Cyprus and in old archives in Rome and Addis Ababa. In the end, the natural mysticism of the Jamaican Rastas is the most important driving force that sets David on the trail of the imperial family. Will he succeed in discovering the truth about his origins? 

De queeste van Verhaeghe en de rastafari’s is dan ook gelijkaardig: ­allebei hopen ze in Ethiopië te ­vinden wie ze echt zijn, en allebei is de dode keizer de sleutel tot hun verhaal - De Standaard

‘My Ras Tafari Roots’ is een uiterst intiem en onthullend portret van de Belgische-Italiaanse regisseur David Verhaeghe, die een zoektocht begint naar de vermeende familiebanden met de legendarische Ethiopische keizer Haile Selassie I - Kif Kif Filmblog

About the director

David Verhaeghe obtained his Master’s Degree in Audiovisual Arts in 1999 at the KHLim in Genk. During his studies he put together a number of different short films and he was already working at the Flemish public broadcaster, VRT, as an intern. As soon as he completed his studies he was able to start working as a director at VRT. Throughout the years, David has acquired experiences in a number of different fields, from promotion spots to documentaries. In recent years, David has specialized in producing documentaries for Canvas, the more in-depth channel of the public broadcaster, for example “Publiek Geheim”, “Belpop”, Wetenschap redt de wereld” and “Triq Slama Mohamed. Reis in vrede” (nominated for Prix Europa). In 2010 he took a masterclass in Storytelling by Robert McKee. “My Ras Tafari Roots” is a project that David has felt in his bones all his life.


Max Romeo
Mystic Revelation of Rastafari
‘brother’ Sam Clayton

directed by
David Verhaeghe

written by
David Verhaeghe
Karel Michiels
(aka Jah Shakespeare)

director of Photography
Tom Vantorre

edited by
Jochen Verstraete

original music
Skip McDonald

Awards & festivals

Official Selection Addis International Film Festival
Theatrical distributed by Docpoppies

Production Details

an Off World production

with the support from
Flanders audiovisual Fund (VAF | FILM)
The Belgian Federal Government tax Shelter

with the participation of