“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind.” – Bob Marley
It is important for us to come to this realization: at a specific point in the lives of a people afflicted with the darkness of enslavement, be it mental or physical, help was always provided from Above.
However, the provision of liberation is always left for the concerned people to recognize and embrace. If they fail to do so, the heavens will not force them to do otherwise.
So, it happened that to the Jews, Moses was sent. To the Indians, it was Gandhi. Muhammad was there to birth fulfilment to the longing of the Arabians. And when the chains in the mind of the despondent peoples of Africa sounded too loud, help was also sent.
But, this time, the message of freedom would not be sermonized like before. It would be proclaimed with rhythm and rhymes.
Bob Marley was not a singer. He was a messenger. The content of his songs explains this with clarity. Pan-African consciousness, progressive political ideologies, and deep spiritual conviction are the three pillars on which his pulpit was raised.
Undoubtedly, the beautiful race of Africa has not made many gains in terms of mental advancement. Our political system is a disappointing structure raised on the foundation of brainlessness and colonial imposition. The spirituality of African history was erased from our memory, and with time, our consciousness became empty. Religion was deceitfully introduced; in ignorance, we accepted.
And, as we practice, we gradually let go of our cultural values and sacred mysticism.
Thus, Bob Marley cried, in his ‘Rat race:’ “don’t forget your history. Nor your destiny. In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty.”
Truly, education is paramount in the evolution of a people; however, lest we deceive ourselves, it is essential to state here that what we’ve been so far taught to learn as education, is nothing close to it at all.
According to S.S. Mackenzi, education is explained as a process that goes throughout life and is promoted by almost every experience.
Also, as John. A Comenius puts it, “education is the development of the whole man.”
Upon these ethical revelations, it becomes rational to understand that a people who cannot employ their inner potentials, for the productive advancement of their society, is not in anyway close to being educated. And this is the present state in which the dispirited children of Africa, now exist.
Indeed, the chosen continent has been deluded, dissuaded and misled.
It is for this reason that Bob Marley counseled: “don’t let them fool you, or even try to school you” in one of his charming songs– ‘Could you be loved?’
Explicitly, the messenger of freedom gospelled his message with countless numbers of songs. How he managed to do so, with consideration to his short stay on Earth, still remains a marvel.
In addition, not one of Bob Marley’s works is wanting in decency. As a matter of fact, the love songs he composed for the lovers, were romantically truthful.
Significantly, the profound depth of Bob Marley still accords wisdom and knowledge, even till this day, to anyone who is willing to take heed. And to those entrapped in the misery of pain, if they would listen with receptivity, the sweetness of his rhythm will make them forget their sorrows and dance.
Bob Marley’s fearlessness was ever made bold as he ceaselessly waged warfare against this Babylon system of mind control. He courageously assured the orchestrators, in his song– “Guiltiness,” that: “they eat the bread of sorrow. And drink the wine of sad tomorrow”
Unquestionably, the dauntless legend who is also known as “Tuff Gong,” would pass for an activist; a freedom fighter, a reformer, a poet and above all else, a prophet.
Born February 6, 1945, Bob Marley spent his childhood days in the rural community of Nine Miles. At the age of four, Bob Marley could predict a person’s by reading the palm of their hand. The proverbs, fables and various chores that are associated with rural life were infused into Bob’s childhood.
As a result of this, a deeper cultural context and an aura of mysticism found room to flourish in his adult songwriting.
Particularly, the greatness of Bob Marley cannot be expressed with the shallowness of words. It’s depth will not permit it.
On 17 April 1980, when the former British colony of Rhodesia was liberated and officially renamed Zimbabwe. Stories have it that the first words officially spoken in the new nation were “ladies and gentlemen, Bob Marley and the Wailers”.
Obviously, It is no coincidence that Bob Marley tributed their struggle with a classy piece, titled: ‘Zimbabwe.’
And, to headline Zimbabwe’s official liberation celebrations, Bob Marley and the Wailers were invited. Zimbabwean police were forced to used tear gas to control the crowds that stampeded through the gates of Harare Rufaro Stadium just to steal a glimpse of Marley onstage. As several members of Marley’s entourage fled for cover, ‘Tuff Gong’ returned to the stage to perform ‘Zimbabwe.’
With a greater urgency, Bob Marley’s words resounded amidst the ensuing chaos: “to divide and rule could only tear us apart, in every man’s chest, there beats a heart/so soon we’ll find out who is the real revolutionaries and I don’t want my people to be tricked by mercenaries.”
“There was smoke everywhere, our eyes were filled with tears so we ran off,” Marcia Griffiths recalls. She was one of Bob Marley’s backup singers who sang alongside Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt, as the I-Threes. With calmness, she went on to say that: “when Bob saw us the next day, he smiled and said now we know who are the real revolutionaries.”
Sadly, on 11 may 1981, Bob Marley passed away in Miami, at the age of thirty-six. His body was flown back to Jamaica to be buried and, in one day, forty thousand people filed past his coffin as his body lay in state in Jamaica’s National Arena.
Bob Marley is the only third-world performer to be elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1999, the BBC named his ‘One Love’ the ‘Song of the Millennium’; the same year Time declared his 1977 Exodus the ,Best Album of the Twentieth Century.’ Voted the third-greatest songwriter of all time in a 2001 BBC poll (behind Bob Dylan and John Lennon), Marley has sold an estimated 50 million records worldwide.
Undoubtedly, Bob Marley was a prophet of God. This is a truth known to those who listens to the lyrics of his songs. But to the many who dances to the sweetness of his vibe, he is the greatest reggae musician of all time.