It's 36 years since legendary reggae music icon Bob Marley died. The Jamaican singer, songwriter and guitarist achieved worldwide fame for the messages of peace, love and unity that he blended in his music.
Marley died of cancer on May 11, 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami, Florida in the US (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36.
If still alive, he would have been celebrating his 72nd birthday today. Celebrations to mark the anniversary of his death have since been held every May 11th in different parts of the world, including Rwanda.
This year, fans of the reggae icon in Kigali will have two venues from which to choose; the Mulindi Japan One Love Project in Kimihurura (better known as Kwa Rasta), and the Inema Art Centre in Kacyiru.
At One Love, the celebrations will span two days, with live reggae music performances on each. The performances will run from 3:30pm till late on Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12. Two local reggae music outfits, the Strong Voice Band, and Kwanda Band will grace the stage alongside a slew of international DJs and other surprise reggae acts.
For Strong Voice Band, it will be business as usual, as the band has consistently performed at Bob Marley anniversary celebrations at One Love since 2006. At the time, the band members were still kids, hence the name –Kids’ Voice at the time.
“As a band we like reggae music, the reason we have always remembered and honoured the legend of reggae music through these performances,” explained Dusabimana Heritier of Strong Voice Band.
“It is 36 years of him not being here with us physically, but in our hearts he still is. Bob Marley died at the age of 36, and this year marks 36 years since he died. That is why we have a two day celebration and performances at One Love,” he added.
Entrance to the event is Rwf 3,000.
At the Inema Art Centre, the celebrations will be headlined by Rwandan reggae musician Natty Dread, whose music has been greatly inspired by Bob Marley. The concert is dubbed Bob Marley Week 2017; Peace and Love Show.
He will be accompanied by other local acts such as 2T Reggae Man, Daniella, and Runyurana J.P. The show kicks off at 6pm and closes at midnight. Entrance is free.