South African Rastafarian Ambassador, scholar and academic, Sipho Mantula, says Bob Marley’s legacy remains relevant in the face of prevailing socio-economic challenges facing the majority of South Africans.
Matula joined the world in observing 42 years of the global icon’s death.
Marley, known as the defender of love, liberation, and unity, died at the age of 36 after a four-year battle with melanoma – a type of skin cancer on May 11, 1981.
Hailed as one of the pioneers of reggae music, which began in the Caribbean Island and evolved into a global rhythm, his songs about the struggles of Black people against oppression from the West spoke not only to Jamaicans, but to people of all walks of life across the world.
Blackman Redemption, One Love/People Get Ready, Redemption Song and No Woman No Cry are some of the greatest hits this musical genius is revered for.
Marley was a Rastafarian, a religion founded in Jamaica in the 1930s.
Mantula says Marley was not an ordinary singer and songwriter.
“It is also important to reconnect Marley with the Rastafarians community, Rastafari spirituality and philosophy; as the member of the Wailing Wailers and movement, it is important to remember his songs that spoke to the emancipation of Black people…of Africans globally like his Redemption song that was taken from Marcus Garvy where he said I will teach Black people to see beauty in themselves hence Bob Marley spoke to us about emancipation from mental slavery. Now we are going through different forms of slavery, religiously, culturally, and economically and hence you find that the role of the Reggae legend, ambassador and hero cannot be forgotten through his family and children….”
The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) says the global icon will always be the party’s hero.
“He also brought in lyrics and content in his music that displayed the power of the African person. He identified clearly with the struggle and African unity,” says the PAC Secretary, Jaki Serote.
“Bob Marley has done a lot for the Black world and his image will never be erased. His album Exodus became one of the albums of the past century. Bob Marley has made the people of colour, particularly the Black community to be respected and have dignity. In the PAC, we regard Bob Marley as a hero and he will forever be in our minds,” he adds.
One of Marley’s best-selling albums, Legend, has sold more than 15 million copies and continues to sell between 3 000 to 5 000 copies each week, 35 years after its release.
He had 12 children and was buried 10 days after his passing in his home village of Nine Mile, in Jamaica.
His final words to his son, Ziggy, were: “On your way up, take me up and your way down – don’t let me down.”
Wisdom Mantula believes remains relevant today.
#Reggae started out as the voice of the marginalized in Jamaica. Today, it acts as a voice for all.
Tribute to #BobMarley, who died #OnThisDay in 1981, and his contribution to establishing reggae as a powerful form of social commentary.@UNESCOCourier: https://t.co/Acuro6SUHG pic.twitter.com/o2Jv2uE3QA
— UNESCO 🏛️ #Education #Sciences #Culture 🇺🇳 (@UNESCO) May 11, 2023
📖 see more rare & unseen photos like these in our ‘Bob Marley: Portrait Of The Legend’ photo book 🔗 https://t.co/s0GXX1hNaU
— Bob Marley (@bobmarley) May 10, 2023
Bob Marley died on this day, 42 years ago. Alongside many artists across the globe, Marley fueled the vehicle of struggle for liberation. His music is deathless because the struggle for freedom is never-ending. Old oppressors are gone. New oppressors are with us. Aluta Continua! pic.twitter.com/6onS3ZptNk
— Letlapa Mphahlele (@LetlapaMphahlel) May 11, 2023
Written by: Lindiwe Mabena