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For many people, bob marley flag  chill vibes at reggae concerts or jamming with friends in the park. But Bob’s music was about more than just having a good time. He was a spiritual leader and advocate for cultural understanding and political unity. He also was a Rastafarian and grew his hair into dreadlocks to honor his ancestors. He died in 1981 of melanoma and left behind a powerful legacy.

A Symbol of Resistance, Liberation, and African Identity

When the casket was carried into a large gymnasium-like arena for his funeral, fans filed past to take a last look. The crowd included many from the poor neighborhoods of Nine Mile, where Marley was buried. The venue was full of the sound of his music, and hawkers sold badges, posters, soft drinks, and ganja.

The casket was draped in the colors of Ethiopia, green yellow and red, because Marley supported the Rastafari religion that started in Jamaica in the 1930s when people believed that Ethiopia’s emperor Haile Selassie was their messiah. In the late 1970s he toured the world to promote peace between Jamaica’s rival political groups and was a powerful voice for Rastafarianism.

Now a tall Sudanese man in his forties named Haidar Awad works at a cafe on the same street where Marley was shot. A longtime fan, he has a different relationship with the singer. He starts with a warning: “Don’t believe all the rumors about him.” He has heard that some of the shots were fired by government agents and that the C.I.A. director at the time, William Colby, dispatched the gunmen who attacked Marley’s home in 1976.

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