Bob Marley of the Wailers. A new documentary highlights the 60th anniversary celebration of his birth that took place in Ethiopia in 2005., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Bob Marley remembered
Friday, 06 May 2011 21:52
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
By Prince Mushawevato
IF fate had acted otherwise, the man of strong conviction and principle, reggae king Robert Nesta Marley, would have turned 66 this year.
He may be dead, but history will forever remember him, his legacy is celebrated yearly across the globe by both Rastafarians and non-Rastafarians.
Born in the Garden Parish of St Ann’s, Jamaica, in 1945 to a white father (Norval Sinclair Marley) and black mother (Cedella Marley Booker), the prophetic reggae king succumbed to cancer on May 11 1981 at the age of 36.
Since then the day has been commemorated internationally.
The Jamaican megastar perfected the art of reggae, rose to the status of Rastafarian prophet and became a leading light in the conscious movement.
Millions of portraits were made (and are still being made) throughout the world, with his flowing dreadlocks and endearing smile proving to be a message for peace, love and harmony.
In 1958, Marley moved to Trenchtown in west Kingston where he lived for three years. He embraced the philosophy of Rastafari from the elders of the movement.
In 1962, he teamed up with Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and the Barret brothers, Carlton and the “Family Man”.
They formed the Wailing Wailers, later to be called The Wailers.
Together they released “Catch a Fire” that same year and “Burning” the following year.
The Wailers attracted big audiences wherever they performed in Europe, America and the Caribbean.
The message of peace and love was sung in cool militancy that inspired a post-war generation seeking answers to pressures of the modern world.
Marley rose to fame with his first solo album Natty Dread and the sting of politically charged albums that followed, which included Rastaman Vibration, Exodus, Kaya and Babylon by Bus.
By 1970, Marley was internationally acclaimed as the premier ambassador of peace and goodwill.
In 1978, after escaping an attempt on his life, Bob Marley performed at the legendary peace concert in Kingston where he brought together the warring political factions led by Michael Manley and Edward Seaga, who joined hands with him on stage.
He started off his career playing “ska”, which was influenced by rhythm ‘n’ blues. He then moved to rock steady, a slowed-down version of ska, with more bass guitar influence.
This beat, critics argue, gave way to reggae with very serious lyrics coming from the influence of Rastafarian cultural music.
Marley commands a huge following in Zimbabwe, after performing at Rufaro Stadium in celebration of the nation’s hard-won independence in April 1980.
The legend composed the song Zimbabwe specifically for the event.
Marley had a dream of seeing a united Africa, free from poverty, unemployment and social ills.
In line with his religious beliefs, Marley refused amputation of one of his toes upon which a cancerous growth had been found. The spreading cancer was discovered in 1980 after he collapsed while jogging in Central Park, New York.
It later claimed his life less than a year later.
He was buried in Jamaica with full state honours on May 21 1981 despite the fact that the Rastafarians and their music had once suffered at the hands of the Jamaican government.
In Zimbabwe every year Rastafarians organise gigs and festivals around the country to celebrate the life and music of reggae’s foremost practitioner.
This Friday and Saturday a local promoter has planned a gig dubbed the Bob Marley Livication Special. The two day show is set for the Basement featuring Mic Inity, Transit Crew, Redemption Sound with Ras Trevor Hall.
There is also going to be a mic contest.-The Sunday Mail