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Marley’s Light Shines 30 Years Later


This Wednesday, May 11, will mark the 30th year since the death of reggae icon Bob Marley. The Bob Marley Foundation and the Bob Marley Museum are making preparations to mark this occasion.

Manager of the Foundation and Museum, Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart, remarks that the Marley family promotes the celebration of Bob Marley’s life and as such emphasis is usually placed on the commemoration of his birth. However, due to the significance of the 30th anniversary special arrangements will be made for the commemoration of the date at the museum located on Hope Road.

Flowers will be available for visitors to the museum on Wednesday, May 11, to place at the feet of the Marley statue on the grounds. Interested persons can donate additional flowers for this activity or simply lay their own at the statue. In an intriguing twist, a mento band will provide live renditions of Marley’s music throughout the day.

Additionally, donations of non-perishable items in aid of the Eira Schader (Trench Town) and Abuna Yeshaq (Ethiopian Orthodox Church) Golden Age homes will be accepted.

Marley succumbed to cancer in 1981, four years after he was initially diagnosed. He was in Miami on his way back to Jamaica from Germany.

His musical influence has received great attention since his passing. By the end of the last century he was declared one of the most influential musicians of all time. In 1999 Time magazine dubbed Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Exodus the greatest album of the 20th Century, while the BBC named One Love the song of the millennium.

Marley’s contribution to the world, however, far exceeds the brilliance of his musicianship. His music is laced with his revolutionary spirit fusing his insights with proverbial wisdom and the influences of Pan African leaders such as Marcus Garvey and Haile Selassie. His music remains inspiring, finding new audiences among the peoples of the world with whom his embodiment of a natural mystic continues to resonate.

Yet, for his daughter Cedella, it is the man, not the icon, who is most missed. “What I most miss about my father,” she says, “is … my father. The funny, kind, gentle and loving father.” She recalls, “One of my favourite quotes of my dad is, ‘Is not the people we come to play….we come to play music’.”

Marley’s children also continue to keep the Marley name current with their various endeavours and the manifestation of their own talent. Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, Ky-Mani and Julian have successfully embarked on musical careers, while Cedella has explored the world of fashion through the Catch a Fire line. Marley’s face can also be seen on earrings, candles, clothing and numerous items.

While some have seen this as a watering down of Marley’s image as a soul rebel, his continued influence on the struggling peoples of the world belies this. Marley’s philosophies continue to resonate around the world in places like Tunisia, India, Nairobi, and among indigenous people of Australia and North America to whom Marley remains the soundtrack for redemption and revolution.

Stephen Marley has a simple message to all Marley fans to keep his father’s memory burning. “Spread his message of peace, love and equality,” he said.

Source:  Jamaica Observer