Last week we posted (see below) on our Facebook Fan Page the date Bob Marley visited Zimbabwe. A friend from Zimbabwe spoke to me about it. He said Bob Marley and his music played a major role in the lives of the oppressed black people in Zimbabwe. He mentioned Bob Marley was a “hero” to many Zimbabweans and that his song “Zimbabwe” is the unofficial nation anthem. He relayed a story that was told to him about Bob Marley’s travel to Zimbabwe. Apparently while in transit to Zimbabwe, Bob Marley and Prince Charles were in the same airport in Nairobi. Prince Charles wanted to meet him and sent a messenger asking Bob Marley to join him in his private suite at the airport. Bob Marley rejected the invitation sending a message back to Prince Charles saying “if he wanted to meet then he would have to come to him”. There is a version of this story at Rasta Times. My friend said this gesture was very powerful to African as it showed a “black man” in control with power. It empowered many and symbolized a victory over British colonialism.
On this day in Jamaican History – Bob Marley and the Wailers performed the song “Zimbabwe” on April 18th, 1980 at Zimbabwe’s 1st independence festivities. The country was formally Rhodesia before that day. Bob Marley and the Wailers were early advocates for the freedom of black Africans from the racist Rhodesian regime.