Widow plans to re-bury Bob Marley in Ethiopia

Published Jan 28, 2005


Addis Ababa - The widow of reggae superstar Bob Marley said here on Friday that her husband's body, now interred in his Jamaican birthplace, would eventually be reburied in Ethiopia per his longstanding wishes.

"It was a dream of Bob Marley and it is a dream of the family to bury him in Ethiopia but there is no time set to this end," Rita Marley told reporters.

Similar comments attributed to Marley's widow earlier this month created a storm of controversy in Jamaica prompted denials of any such plans by the Bob Marley and Rita Marley Foundations.

But on Friday, ahead of huge celebrations here to mark what would have been Bob Marley's 60th birthday next week, Rita Marley confirmed that the body would be moved at some point.

"We have not set a time for the reburial of Bob Marley in Ethiopia, there is no rush for it," she said.

"As we believe in what is to be, must be, it will happen in due course," she said. "Indeed, it was Bob's dream and the family shares that dream."

Two years before his death from cancer at age 39 in 1981, Bob Marley visited Ethiopia, whose late emperor Haile Selassie is regarded as the spiritual leader of the Rastafarian movement that Marley espoused.

As such, Addis Ababa was seen as the natural venue for the 60th birthday "Africa Unite" celebrations that kick off on Tuesday and are expected to attract about 200 000 visitors, including Bob Marley's 80-year-old mother who arrived in the Ethiopian capital late on Thursday.

Some of the proceeds from sales of CDs and DVDs from a gala concert on February 6 and other events are to go toward assisting Somali victims of last month's deadly tsunami.

Other proceeds will go to help construct a museum dedicated to Haile Selassie (born Ras Tafari).

"As we are believers of life after death, we are planning to build a palace museum for the emperor, to display his works and activities, as he is our mentor and guide," Rita Marley said.

"His Majesty is a God elected King of Kings and we consider him the closest person to God," she said. "He is not a symbol only for the Rastas but for all blacks in the diaspora all over the world who seek where their roots are." - Sapa-AFP

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