Jamaican Americans have begun weighing in on news that Rita Marley, wife of the late legendary reggae singer, Robert Nestor Marley, plans to exhume his remains from Jamaica and rebury him in Ethiopia.
Published reports quoted Mrs. Marley, a Cuban-born singer turned Rastafarian like her late husband, as saying the reburial will take place next month, which would have been Bob’s 60th birthday, and that both the Ethiopian government and the church are supporting the plan to rebury his 24-year-old remains, in Shashemene, 155 miles south of Addis Ababa where several hundred Rastafarians have lived since they were given land by Ethiopia’s last emperor, Haile Selassie, according to the Caribbean’s Heartbeat News.com.
“We are working on bringing his remains to Ethiopia,” Rita told the Associated Press. “It is part of Bob’s own mission.”
But Jamaicans in the US called the move ‘a big diss to Jamaica’ while others pondered whether the decision was financially motivated.
‘I smell a financial rat on Rita’s (part),’ said Al. ‘This is nuff disrespect fuh Jamaica… it takes away from the JA economy.’
Charmaine noted, ‘She wants to capitalize on his name … she mad no r..s!’
Patrick Forrester of Washington added, ‘Rita sees mo’ money… she has always been about money!’
Still more Jamaicans speculate on whether Bob actually wanted to be buried in Ethiopia, noting that if he really wanted to, he could have requested it before he died.
‘From what I remember, when Bob passed he still had his faculties. He died in Miami and was taken back to Jamaica. If he wanted to go to Ethiopia, why wasn’t he laid to rest there? asked Shirley Evans. ‘And why after 20 much years would she choose now? What happen…someone made an offer for the ashes?’
Horace Davis added, ‘If he wanted to be buried in Ethiopia at the time of his death I am sure the money and plot would not have been a problem. And, she would have done whatever was necessary to make it happen. I am almost positive that there is more to this than meets the eye.’
But Forrester was more concerned about the impact the move could have on the island’s tourism, since many tourists clamour to see Marley’s birthplace and remaining artefacts.
Marley was born in St. Ann, Jamaica on Feb. 6, 1945 but died of cancer in 1981. He made a huge impact on the music world, placing his small island in the world’s spotlight, with hits like ‘One Love,’ ‘Could This Be Love?,’ ‘I Shot The Sheriff,’ and countless other classics.
The plan by Rita Marley comes amidst a call from Bob’s foundation for him to be honoured by the Jamaican government as a national hero and as a month-long celebration to honour him on what would have been his 60th birthday, gets under way in Africa next month.