Reggae singer Robert "Bob" Marley won worldwide fame before his death from cancer in 1981 and remains a Jamaican icon. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine rated him #11 in its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Jamaica – Been There

Green, yellow, red, black, and white

Photo by Friedrich Stark

Jamaica – Been There Green, yellow, red, black, and white

My Jamaican friend Roger – who is crazy about reggae and has taken me under his wing in Kingston – and I head towards the capital’s most famous sight: the Bob Marley Museum.

Kiki Deere
Kiki Deere Travel Writer

Bob, as he is simply known as in Jamaica, beams at us from a portrait above the entrance gate. Its side columns have been painted in the Rastafarian colors of green, yellow and red. The colors continue inside, where a large statue of Bob stands in the courtyard, clutching a guitar with one hand while pointing towards the sky with the other. Along the outside wall, a series of black and white poster-size photographs tell the story of his life. One picture shows him posing with his wife and young children, all beaming at the camera, while in other images he is sprinting along a football pitch.

There are more pictures inside. Black and white photographs locked into picture frames hang unsteadily from the wall, while newspaper clippings spanning his career are on display. Framed vinyl discs hang as a testament to his musical legacy. The dreadlocked museum guide breaks into a series of Bob’s songs, which he encourages us to sing along with him, before leading us to the leafy garden where he lights up a joint. “Before, nobody liked Rastas,” he says. “It was Bob who gave us a chance to speak out. Bob was turned away at lots of venues because he was a Rastafarian.”

Just how controversial Marley’s stances were can be seen nearby. “This is where Bob was shot,” says the guide, pointing out at a series of bullet holes that riddle the wall. At the museum shop, I buy a T-shirt and the Exodus album, which I will find myself listening to over and over again.

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