Robert Nesta Marley, popularly known as, Bob Marley in the music scene was a Jamaican musician cum songwriter and one of the pioneers of reggae music. Aside the entertainment side of his musical career, he was one of the few people who used their lyrics to impact society positively. Although He was a Jamaican, throughout his entire career, Bob Marley has been a strong advocate for the Pan-African ideology by always dedicating a space to preach a message that benefits the continent.
BOB’S message cut across every necessary issue relating to the African continent and its lovely citizenry. He preached against the injustices perpetuated in Africa by imperialist, He promoted African unity, He advocated for the total liberation of the African, He sang extensively about African spirituality, colonial influence, social life and other cultural practices, geared towards the betterment of the continent. The captions to his songs, ranging from, Blackman redemption, Get up, Stand up, Africa unite, Redemption song, Brainwashing, with their respective rich lyrical contents like, “emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds” among many others, are typical examples of his impactful African liberation agenda.
One of the notable feats that Marley has achieved in Africa is the important role he played in the liberation of Zimbabwe. In the year 1979, Bob Marley released a timely high impact-driven song titled “Zimbabwe” in which he articulated major occurrences and also motivated the locals during the freedom struggle of the Zimbabweans.
In an interview with Forbes, Fred Zindi, a professor at the University of Zimbabwe confirmed that guerrilla forces of the patriotic front adopted Marley’s songs during the years of Chimurenga which represents the struggle for human rights, political dignity and social justice in Zimbabwe. He further stated that the ZANLA troops equally played Bob Marley’s cassettes in the bush.
A constitutional law expert from South Africa, Shadrack Gutto also added that “His songs were the food that people in liberation movements, particularly the armed wings were swallowing”. After the struggle was over, He was invited as the only outside artist to perform at the grand celebration of the Zimbabwean independence.
Although Bob Marley is dead, his timeless music still has a spark of potency and impact which contributes greatly in today’s political setting and as well inspires the new freedom-seeking generation of Africa. Expressing His love for the Continent, Bob’s wife, Rita Marley in a 2005 interview intercepted by EyeGambia said that: “Bob’s whole life is about Africa and not about Jamaica”. His contribution and unwavering love for the African continent deserves to be honored. In fact, it will never be an exaggeration to demand that, a monument should be built at the AU headquarters in appreciation of his works and also serve as a symbol of motivation to other Pan-Africanist to keep up the struggle.
African have long been celebrating Bob Marley. Just a few years back, Senegalese Grammy award winner Youssou Ndour dedicated a whole album him titled Kingston.