Thirty four years after his death, fans of Jamaican music legend, Robert Nester Marley (a.k.a. Bob Marley) celebrate the music, life and times of the superstar.
Bob Marley died of malignant melanoma, a dangerous type of cancer that was found on his toe at the age of 36 in a Miami hospital, USA, on May 11, 1981.
May 11 is now globally recognised as Bob Marley’s Day; a day observed by playing only the songs of the reggae maestro and showcasing the Rastafarian root culture.
This year, several events have been outlined for the commemoration, but what makes the 2015 edition stand out is that as part of activities leading up to the event, the president of the United States of America, Barrack Obama in April visited the hometown of the reggae maestro and his home.
It didn’t take long for President Obama to head to the Bob Marley Museum after arriving in Jamaica and shaking hands with foreign dignitaries.
About an hour and 15 minutes after Air Force One touched down at Norman Manley Airport in Kingston, Obama visited the museum, which is based in a large Victorian house that was the reggae singer’s abode until he died in 1981.
“I still have all the albums,” Obama said while touring the museum, according to a White House pool report. Only still photographers could accompany the president during his museum tour, which was a surprise for the press.
The museum preserves the rooms in Marley’s former home and displays his recording studio, bedroom, Gold and Platinum records, a life-sized hologramme from his 1978 ‘One Love’ Peace Concert and his Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, among other collectibles.
Obama spent about 20 minutes at the museum before returning to his hotel.
It is, however, no secret that he’s a Marley fan. In 2012, he shared with MTV that he listened to Marley during his college years.
President Obama spent three and a half days in Jamaica and Panama, where he discussed security, energy and other topics, including the U.S. relationship with Cuba with foreign officials. This marked the first presidential trip to Jamaica since 1982.
In Nigeria, several events have been outlined for the commemoration of this year’s event.
In Abuja, the nation’s capital, for instance, Matilda Entertainment Concept is organising a special ‘Bob Marley Reggae Concert’ today at the Asset Garden, Garki, Abuja.
The event will feature Zyon Data, Cent Moko, Slave Tears, Dan J Mani, and a host of other reggae artistes in the FCT.
This is in addition to several other similar concerts across the capital territory, including at the popular Eden Park, Jabi.
In Warri, Delta State, the event began yesterday, Sunday, May 10, with all Rasta men donning the Rasta attires and marching through major streets of the city preaching the Rastafarian message.
At the heart of the Bob Marley Day celebration in Warri is a Brazilian based Nigerian from Effurun in Delta State, Ras Orbada Clark, a hospitality guru and CEO of Bem Vindo Hotel and Suites.
“We want to revive Reggae music in Delta State. On Monday, May 11, 2015, we will march through major roads in Warri, Effurun, Osubi and environs for procession as part of this year’s celebration of the exit of Bob Marley 34 years ago. There will be no dull moment on that day for Rastafarians at Bem Vindo Hotel. The African hall of the hotel that was opened recently will be used for the big event,” Ras Orbada said.
After a long battle with the disease, Bob Marley eventually allowed for a skin graft in place of a full amputation, which seemed ineffective or simply too late.
By the late summer of 1980, the cancer had spread throughout his body.
While he was in New York City performing, Marley collapsed during a jog through Central Park.
He performed for the last time in September of 1980 in Pittsburgh, a performance that was re-mastered and released in February of 2011 as Bob Marley and the Wailers Live Forever.
Intending to fly home to Jamaica, he became even sicker while in transit, and the plane stopped over in Miami, where he died on May 11, 1981.
According to some reports, his final words were spoken to his son, Ziggy Marley, “Money Can’t Buy Life.”

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