Bob Marley’s widow Rita wants to move his remains from a Jamaican cemetery to his “spiritual resting place” in Ethiopia. The exodus will occur some time after the monthlong February celebration of the reggae great’s 60th birthday in Ethiopia. Bob died of cancer in 1981 at the age of thirty-six.
Rita, with Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths, one of the “three little birds” backup singers for the Wailers, said her husband would be reburied in Shashemene, 155 miles south of Addis Ababa where several hundred Rastafarians have lived since they were given land by Ethiopia’s last emperor, Haile Selassie, who ruled from 1930 to 1974, and whom hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans embraced as their living god and head of the Rastafarian religious movement (Selassie’s death in 1975 apparently did not disrupt his living god status). Bob Marley was a devout Rasta, as many of his songs revealed.
“Bob’s whole life is about Africa. It is not about Jamaica,” Rita, who married Bob in 1966, told AP. “How can you give up a continent for an island? He has a right for his remains to be where he would love them to be. This was his mission. Ethiopia is his spiritual resting place. With the 60th anniversary this year, the impact is there and the time is right.”
Events for the Marley celebration, called Africa Unite, are as follows:
February 1 African Youth Parade for Peace, Nyahbinghi drumming, special presentations, Mother Cedella Marley Booker special performance, choir, dignitaries, opening of Africa Unite Exhibit
Venue: Addis City Hall
February 1-10 Bob Marley Photo Exhibit – Songs of Freedom by Adrian Booth Africa Unite exhibit: H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, the Mandelas, and every day activists including youth who championed the cause of African Unity.
Speakers and Panel Discussions
Venue: Addis Ababa Exhibition Center
February 2, 3, 4 Symposiums at Venues (click for details):
– Economic Commission for Africa
– Addis Ababa University
– Africa Union
Soccer clinics for youth in Addis Ababa
February 4 Formal Fundraising Banquet
Proceeds will be given to UNICEF to build the Bob Marley Youth Center.
Venue: Sheraton Addis Hotel
February 5 Diplomatic Gala Event Fundraiser
To build a museum to preserve H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie’s Legacy.
February 6 60th Birthday concert celebration for the Honor Rebel Bob Marley with the Marley Family, I-Three, Harry Belfonte, Quincy Jones, Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal, Angelique Kidjo, Dean Frazier, and many others.
Venue: Maskal Square, Addis Ababa
February 7 Book release of No Woman No Cry by Rita Marley and 60 Visions by Cedella Marley. Venue: Alem Creative Arts Center
February 11-13 Concert, arts and crafts, tours, soccer, youth games, tours
Venue: Shashamane Community
February 1-28 Africa Unite Gallery Exhibition and Film Festival
Venue: Alem Creative Arts Center
Money raised by the events will benefit Ethiopian poor families and tsunami relief in Somalia.