Bob Marley would have turned sixty today. Marley's life was brief but his legacy has been long and widespread. His music brought the hopes and dreams of the African diaspora into homes and clubs worldwide and was influential in dispelling the notion that important music was created only in the economic powers of Western Europe and the United States. Marley's gift was to cast the music of rebellion into infectious rhythms that lifted the spirit without abandoning the reality of political struggle in an unjust world.
"In this great future, you can't forget your past."
-Bob Marley, "No Woman, No Cry"
In Kingston, Jamaica and for the first time in The Rastafarian holy land of Ethiopia crowds gathered to hear Bob Marley's songs of freedom and his hope for a united Africa. The Associated Press reported that in Ethiopia's capital- Addis Ababa -tens of thousands attended a memorial concert entitled "Africa Unite'' after one of Marley's songs. African stars paid tribute by performing at the concert, including Youssou N'dour and Baaba Maal of Senegal and Angelique Kidjo of Benin. Marley's five sons, his widow Rita and other former members of Marley's band the Wailers also performed.
In a letter published in Sunday's "Jamaica Gleaner" American reggae historian Robert Roskind wrote,"this concert is much more than entertainment and an honouring of Jamaica's best-known artiste and healer. This evening will be a call to every Jamaican individually, and to the nation as a whole, to claim their God-given destiny to teach love, forgiveness and compassion in their lives. We as individuals need to answer this call. Jamaica as a country needs to answer this call. And the world needs this example of healing through one love.''