Children get your cultureWednesday, May 05, 2021
BY KEDIESHA PERRY
The Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk presents the 28th in a series titled Bob Marley — The Last 40 Days to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his passing.
Bob Marley is universally known as the King of Reggae. However, to several The University of the West Indies, Mona campus students, not enough is being done to educate young Jamaicans about his legacy.
“I think we know a lot about him, through the annual reggae month, and his birthday celebrations and so on. However, I think what is taught is informal knowledge, and for a nation that owes Marley so much gratitude, I think he and his life should be incorporated into the school's curriculum. It shouldn't be an external, 'learn it on your own' or 'listen him on YouTube' type of thing. In the same way we learn about Sam Sharpe, and Garvey, we should learn about Bob,” president of the Guild of Students, Sujae Boswell, told the Jamaica Observer.
Jahnoy Leith, who is pursuing a Master of Science in International Public and Development Management, agreed that Marley's life and work must be incorporated in school syllabi.
“I don't think enough is known or taught. To be honest, I wasn't really taught much about him in school. To garner the knowledge [that] I have, I had to seek the information myself, so I believe more can be done. If it's even through the method of adding cultural studies to the secondary curriculum,” said the final-year student, who is also manager of Regulations and Policy at the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority.
Final-year undergraduate students Niquae Herdsman and Javier Gordon share the same sentiments.
“Whilst Bob is achieved, the average Jamaican knows only the bare minimum about such a stalwart and legend in our history. Most know few songs, his home; the museum but many can't tell you where he was born or even one of his many achievements. He has put Jamaica on the map and in the hearts of many…,” Herdsman, a tourism management major added.
At the same time, the students interviewed by the Observer had reasonable knowledge about Marley who died in May 1981 at age 36.
“Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer, songwriter and musician who contributed a lot to the reggae genre and also put Jamaica on the map. He had good vocals and amazing lyrical styles. My knowledge of him is quite okay, I also know about his parents…,” said Gordon, a history and archaeology student.
Meanwhile, Boswell praised Marley, whom he described as being instrumental in Jamaica's cultural development.
“Well, he did all three genres, ska, rocksteady and reggae. He contributed to reggae and Rastafari going global, which ultimately resulted in much exposure of Jamaican culture. Basically, this exposure sparked increased interest, which helped to develop the nation economically and socially. He created an avenue for those who would come after him. He was our very own superstar. So, I'd say he contributed to the musical legacy,” he said.
Herdsman added that Marley's legacy has contributed massively to the tourism industry being Jamaica's leading earner of foreign exchange.
“His contribution to tourism in Jamaica, which is currently the mainstay of our economy is immeasurable. Tourists from across the world see Bob as the face of our tourism, especially in niche markets such as culture and heritage tourism. They are fascinated by his life and travel to Jamaica to gain valuable knowledge about him,” she said.
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