By Pan-African Reporter
Kampala: The man we know as Bob Marley real names Robert Nesta was born on February 6, 1945, to a 16-year-old African-Jamaican girl named Cedella Booker.
As a child, Bob Marley suffered from bigotry at the hands of his peers-being lighter than all the other children, and possessing European features. Although he was tortured and socially outcasted, his soul was satisfied by the creation of his music, which no doubt became a coping strategy.
It’s important to note that Bob identified himself as a Black African, even though he would reflect on his mixed-race identity with the quote “They call me half-caste or whatever. Me don’t deh pon nobody’s side. Me don’t deh pon the Black man’s side nor the white man’s side. Me deh pon God’s side, the one who create me and cause me to come from Black and white.
”In Trenchtown, Bob was exposed to the real streets – abject poverty, low pay, malnutrition and disease and a lack of political rights by the poor, houses which were anything from cardboard boxes to beaten out oil drums nailed together, and food shortage. But it was these things that made Trenchtown fertile grounds for the birth of a new and revolutionary style of music; ska and reggae.
Reggae, Rastafari, and Pan-Africanism
Its no secret the Bob Marley was a devoted Rastafari. In reality, the Rastafari movement began as early as 1924 with the publishing of the Black Man’s Bible, the Holy Piby – a controversial book compiled by Robert Athlyi Rogers. Barbadian minister Charles F. Goodridge and Grace Jenkins Garrison brought the Holy Piby to Jamaica in 1925, effectively sparking the Rasta movement.
The Piby’s Afro-centric teachings were developed to offer an alternative to the distortions allegedly made by white leaders when the bible was translated into English and includes references to Marcus Garvey as a prophet of God and Emperor Haile Selassie as God himself.
Bob Marley’s culturally powerful, spiritual and socially conscious music has continued to unite and inspire people from across the world. Marley’ songs of African unity, Pan-Africanism, struggle for survival, love, peace, and protest remain relevant and powerful.
He was a darling to many across Africa, and the icon visited the continent a few times. His music is loved by many Africans for its powerful messages touching on relevant issues such as African unity, Pan-Africanism, struggle for survival, fight against oppression, protest, systemic corruption, discrimination, love, harmony, peace, and redemptions, among other themes.
A fervent and unapologetic Pan-Africanist, Marley strongly believed in African unity and his beliefs on Pan-Africanism were rooted in his Rastafari religious beliefs.
And in this interview, Marley spoke of the importance of Africa in his worldview:
” Too many people going on like England and America are in the world. But there is a better life in Africa…Black People are so stubborn. They stay here because white people give them a big hotel and a floor to vacuum.”
To Marley, Africa was not only a dream; it symbolized a place where the Black man and woman could live in dignity and prosperity.
From Thailand and Ukraine to Argentina and Alabama, there is no corner of the Earth that hasn’t been touched by his music and influence.
Statues have been raised in his honour, and churches, streets, and centres around the world have been named after him. Australia burns a sacred flame in state parks to honour him, and adherents to the Rastafari faith believe he is the third aspect of the Holy Trinity after his spirit joined those of Haile Sellasie and Marcus Garvey. His famous last words to his oldest son, Ziggy was ‘Money can’t buy life’.
What Killed Bob Marley?
Official accounts report that Bob was killed by malignant cancer that covered his brain, lungs, and other organs. This cancer was the result of a soccer cleat piercing his foot during a game in Brazil, but it’s hard to see how cancer could be introduced to the body in such a way. That’s where the conspiracy theories come in.
There are rumours that Bob Marley was murdered by the CIA with the help of his physician, Dr. Issels, who has been reported to be a former Nazi. Those who believe that Bob Marley was assassinated believe a CIA agent provided Bob with a pair of boots as a gift. These boots had radioactive wires hidden in their soles, which caused cancerous radiation poisoning.
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