Friday, February 06, 2009

Bob Marley, not just another coloured

Today we remember not simply another 'person of mixed' descend. For many, if not thousands he was a prophet, for others simply one of the first, if not the first superstars from the Third World- a great entertainer. Certainly he captured the imagination of a generation, irrespective of race or class. He was not just another coloured- he was Bob Marley.

Marley, the charismatic reggae icon, from Jamaica died 1981. He was only 36 years old. He was born on February 6, 1945 and would have celebrated his 64th birthday today. His marijuana ('herb') smoking lifestyle offended many, being a Rasta he defended it in terms of his theology, but also, he exposed the hypocrisy of a society that blessed the consumption and tolerates the abuse of alcohol and nicotine, yet sneers at the smoking of 'the herb', which for him was also a 'gift from God'.

I don't agree with his theology or some aspects of his lifestyle. I was however challenged by his message of unity and peace for the world. He states, 'Me only have one ambition, y'know. I only have one thing I really like to see happen. I like to see mankind live together - black, white, Chinese, everyone - that's all.'As a Christian, he challenged me to 'Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don't give up the fight.' As a person, who grew up in a community where, your mixed-ness, was sneered at and became the mark of Cain; where it defined your possibilities, Marley, articulated our hopes and dreams. He inspired us to 'never give up the fight', to be rooted in our history of slavery, of oppression, but to never allow it to constrain our potential, because, God see and hears the cry of his people in slavery on Egypt or in exile in Babylon.
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