Marley family had private farewell to BobSunday, May 16, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Ziggy, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, was in a reflective mood when the Jamaica Observer caught up with him in the days preceding the 40th anniversary of the death of his famous father.
He was 12 years old on that fateful day of May 11, 1981 and so the memories surrounding that period of his life are still clear.
He recalled being in transition from Vaz Preparatory School as he prepared to start high school at St George's College in Kingston. As such he was quite aware of his father's illness and the possibility of death.
Ziggy shared that he made a pact with God: “Yuh know how kids stay. I was kinda trying to bribe God. I told God that if him mek my father get better I would do well at school and at home. But it never worked. My father died.”
Ziggy, who is Marley's eldest son, took on the mantle of caring for his mother, Rita, and siblings, who were mourning the loss of a husband and father.
For months following his father's death Ziggy shared that he never cried once, as he went into some form on delayed shock, ultimately coming to a full realisation of what had happened once he started St George's.
“I go through all that and I didn't cry once. Back in those days you never had anything like grief counselling. There was nobody to talk to about how you were feeling, because everybody roun' you a go through the same thing too. But the September, when I was to go to school, I cried. I guess at that time it really hit me that Bob was gone. It was tough. I just had to deal with it in my own way,” he said during the interview with the Observer.
He revealed that, while the family was commended for being strong at the state funeral organised by the Jamaican Government at the National Arena, 10 days after his death, on May 21, they were just basically going through motions.
“We [the family] had had a private finale ceremony for Bob in Miami before we came home with his body. So what you saw was basically the public event. We did our personal thing before, so we could be a lot more relaxed, and even go on stage and perform, because that event felt more like a celebration rather that a mournful funeral. We were basically sharing with the people,” the star in his own right said.
Bob Marley's funeral has become legendary due to its size and scope. Many recall standing in line for hours to file pass the casket, and recall the throngs of mourners, including local and international personalities and celebrities, who turned up for the event.
The coverage provided by international media outlets was also said to be unprecedented.
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