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Bob Marley’s son blasts Mugabe


- Lance Guma

(Tuesday, November 1, 2005)

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"The irony of his father singing about liberating Zimbabwe at independence and subsequent events is not lost to many."


Twenty-five years after Bob Marley played at Rufaro Stadium for Zimbabwe’s independence celebrations Damien Marley, his son, has released a 12-track album that has a song blasting Robert Mugabe. In a collaboration with legendary US rapper NAS, the song entitled ‘Road to Zion’ accuses Mugabe of ‘holding guns to innocent bodies.’

The irony of his father singing about liberating Zimbabwe at independence and subsequent events is not lost to many. Bob Marley himself warned in the song ‘Zimbabwe;’ ‘ So soon we'll find out who is the real revolutionaries; And I don't want my people to be tricked by mercenaries.’ The words proving prophetic given political and economic developments.

Road to Zion, the new song from Marley Jnr, has been described by critics as the fulfilment of his fathers prophecies. What he is saying today is probably what Bob Marley would be saying if he were alive. The rapper Nas says of Zimbabwe, ‘I’m having daymares in daytime wide-awake, trying to relate. This can’t be happening, like I’m in a dream, while I’m walking. Cause What I’m seeing is haunting, human beings like ghosts and zombies. President Mugabe holding guns to innocent bodies. In Zimbabwe, they make John Pope seem Godly, sacrilegious and blasphemous.’

The song is a sure jolt to Mugabe’s propaganda blitz, which has always sought to portray him as a faultless African liberator being demonised by the West. Mugabe has surrounded himself with extremists group like the December 12 Movement in America, which supports anything anti-white. With Damien Marley and Nas drawing wide appeal with the young generation, every passing year erodes Mugabe’s worldwide propaganda campaign. Government officials a few months back complained that the Nicole Kidman movie ‘The Interpreter’ was also taking a swipe at Mugabe and his regime. Producers of the film denied such a link.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1978 Damien, popularly known, as ‘Junior Gong,’ is Bob Marley’s youngest son. A critic for the New York Times, Louise Bowes, says his album’s title track and hit single ‘Jamrock’ may be an “early contender for song of the decade.” She believes “Jamrock” could be the catchiest reggae song ever heard. Many hope however his message in ‘Road to Zion’ will help the road to peace and prosperity in Zimbabwe.

Damien Marley( center, in white shirt ) poses with fans in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Damien Marley( center, in white shirt ) poses with fans in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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