May 23, 2014

On this day May 23rd

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On this day

On Thursday, May 23, 1981, the Honorable Robert Nesta Marley was given an official funeral by the government and people of Jamaica. Following the funeral which was attended by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition Bob's 36 years old body was taken to his birthplace in St. Ann where it now rests in a mausoleum along with a soccer ball, his Gibson Les Paul guitar, and a bud of marijuana.   

Bob Marley’s original name was Nesta Robert Marley but his middle and first name were swapped around to preserve his masculinity after a comment was made that Nesta was seen as a girl’s name. This was not the only thing, which was noticeably different from his birth certificate.  Another discrepancy is that, after Bob was born on 6th February 1945, it took his mother a while to finally get him officially registered; meaning the date on his birth certificate was incorrect, stating he was born on 6th April.   From the age of four it was discovered Bob Marley could read palms. When Cedella (Bob’s mother) first heard of this from relatives and neighbors she took it as a joke. These palm readings invariably came true, which left his mother quite shaken.

When Bob was a lot older and returned to Kingston, a woman asked him to read her palm - he replied: “I’m not reading no more hand: I’m singing now.”   In Kingston Bob Marley was known as a “white boy”. This was due to his mixed raced origins being clearly visible.  Although it made him feel alienated it was a huge aid in opening doors for him and helping him build up his confidence and self-esteem, turning him into the man he was.   After being arrested for possession of marijuana, Bob spent a month in prison, during which time he met many prisoners that he formed strong relationships with. These prisoners motivated him to write songs with a more political message.  

His record label Tuff Gong was named after Leonard Percival Howell the first “Rasta”. This record label now boasts one of the largest audio recording facilities in the Caribbean.   Once he’d found success Marley became extremely generous with this money. Having grown up in a poor family in Jamaica he knew how difficult it was to get by. He decided to put his goodwill into practice by buying houses for friends and supported many of the poor in Jamaica.  

In 1977 a football injury led doctors to discover a malignant melanoma in Marley’s toe. They recommended amputation, which he refused. The tumor then spread and the rest is history. When Bob came to grip with his own mortality and the gravity of his terminally illness he wanted to end his days in Jamaica, but unfortunately, on the Germany to Jamaica journey he didn’t make it past Miami.

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