Island Life The Daily News. 00/21/98 p.22
Late Bob Marley plays a major
role in Jamaica's tourism
This final column will focus on
the late honorable Robert Nesta
Marley as a major tourist industry
in Jamaica and worldwide.
In 1945. a woman pve birth to
a male child, not realizing that he
would become a latter-day
prophet. Bob Marley was born In
St. Ann parish in Jamaica. St. Ann
parish is also the birthplace of the
legendary 20th century prophet
Marcus Mosin Garvey. who was
born in 1887.
Bob grew up In the country
swimming in the rivers and sea. A
as Inbred naturalist, he loved to
listen to the insects at night. He
enjoyed going out in the forest,
tracking birds with his slingshot.
He also enjoyed riding donkeys.
taking care of farm animals like
goaos and milking cows. At Nine
Miles, St. Ann parish is one of
Jamaica's lushest forested areas.
The mist in the morning is
something to behold when the sun
rises over the mountains of the
small remote village where Bob
Marley was born. People lived
close to the soil.
They are God-fearing people.
It was a place fit for the reggae
king of the world. Many people
believed Bob Marley was a saint.
Some believed he was a prophet.
Others believed he was the great.
est songwriter and singer who
Yet others will tell you Bob
Mariey was the incarnation of bib-
lical Moses to lead the people of
the world, especially black peo-
ple,. out of spiritual darkness
through the power of music.
Believe me, whatever the world
believes about Bob Marley. they
knew he was a special human with
a message in music for a lost
One reporter said. "Some peo-
ple even considered Bob Marley
as a god like the ancient gods in
Bob Marley was influenced by
his grandfather. Omarian Mal-
colm. and his mother, a church-
going. deeply religious woman
who was always singing spiritual
Uttle did his mother, grandfa-
ther. other relatives, friends or
even Bob himself know that he
would have a great impact on the
minds of people worldwide. The
people in Bob's village were very
poor, but rich in love, culture and
history. I guess as a child, the
poor conditions that Bob found
himself living in and surrounded
by was the cry of his message to
He sang from a deep personal
experience and the conditions of
oppressed people worldwide.
Thub. the world identified with
Bob Marley's cry for love, peace,
unity, freedom and justice espe-
cially for the poor among us. You
can see why to some people Bob
Marley was a prophet who lifted
the consciousness of people
He became like John the Bap-
list, crying in the wilderness for
redemption. When he sang. he
sang with such intensity and emo-
lion that he went into a spiritual
It was said sometimes Bob
Maricey would fall off the stage
when the spirit of music hit him.
It was this music soul revolu-
tionary rebel music that author-
ity of Jamaica's government offi-
cials became afraid of.
Worldwide, people became
conscious of themselves and stood
up for their rights because of
Bob's music. Bob sang about the
system that oppressed people and
The Jamaican government
banned some of his songs from
the radio such as "Who the Cap
Fit" and "Crazy Baldheads." Yet
today, Bob Marley remains a
major force in the tourist industry
in Jamaica. Millions of people
every year come to Jamaica and
flock to Bob Marley's Museum
and visit his mausoleum, spending
The same country that rejected
Marley when he was alive, partic-
ularly those in power, named
streets, bronze statues. etc. in his
When Bob died in 1981. Black
Collegian magazine said, "His
popularity spanned continents.
commanded sell-out audiences
everywhere he performed and
accounted for S190 million in
record sales, a figure which
according to The Wall Street Jour-
nal, is equal to 8 percent of
Jamaica's 1980 GNP."
There are all kinds of products
that depict Bob Marley s name
and face from I-shirts to earrings.
mugs. bumper stickers, clocks.
clothes and the list continues. I
even saw a woman's nightgown in
a store that read "1 Am Waiting in
Many books have been written
about him. You can find his pic-
tures in homes, stores, hotels.
banks and even in a church. I am
told worldwide. Throughout the
Caribbean and the world, you can
find Bob Marley products, which
is a billion dollar industry.
Every year people celebrate his
birthday worldwide. A movie was
made in his memory called
"Country Man." and several TV
and radio commercials feature his
"... He was. above all else. a
symbol of hope and optimism for
millions of fellow humans around
the world, who saw in the diminu-
live singer from Trenchlown some
aspect of their own sufferings or
torments some resilience and mili-
tancy that they lacked or aspired
Bob Marley lives in all of us.
This article reflects the view of
Olasee Davis. a St. Croix ecolo-
gist. activist and writer who has a
master of science degree in range
management and forestry ecology.