The Return of the Dread: Peter Tosh Museum reopens on icon's birthday
Andrew Tosh (right), son of legendary reggae singer Peter Tosh, performs with his own son Dre Tosh during the reopening of the Peter Tosh Musuem on Thursday at the Pulse Business Centre. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

A noticeable void had occupied the Jamaican museum landscape during the closure of the Peter Tosh Museum at the Pulse Business Centre, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, on the evening of the reggae legend's birthday, October 19, the museum celebrated its rebirth in style.

In addition to its remarkable exhibits, the museum is now proudly featuring "The Order of the Companions of Oliver Reginald Tambo," a prestigious national honour conferred upon Peter Tosh by the Government of South Africa for his tireless commitment to the fight against apartheid. The award was graciously accepted by Niambe McIntosh, Tosh's youngest daughter, during a grand ceremony in Pretoria, graced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. This recognition holds the same reverence in South Africa as Jamaica's Order of Merit does locally.

Speaking at the relaunch, Niambe emphasised the collective ownership of this historical narrative: "This isn't solely my father's story, but a tale shared by all of us. It fuels our creativity and our aspirations to be agents of change in society. When we unite to celebrate our shared history, crafted by us and for us, we can proudly proclaim, 'This is our story'."

Established in 2016 as a project under Pulse Investments, the Peter Tosh Museum remains dedicated to celebrating the enduring legacy of the reggae maestro.

To commemorate the relaunch, South African High Commissioner to Jamaica Lumka Yengeni conveyed her nation's well-wishes, stating, "Peter Tosh united people worldwide for a noble cause, and today, we gather here in his honour. He used his voice to educate and advocate on behalf of us in Jamaica and across the globe."

She reminisced about the continued relevance of "Equal Rights and Justice" in Jamaica, noting how the song endures as a powerful message.

Peter Tosh, in his own right, was a hero and a champion of human rights. His music played a pivotal role in challenging repressive governments and remains cherished by South Africans.

In the museum, one can see Peter Tosh's iconic M16 guitar, transformed by the marks of violence into a symbol of rebellion and militancy. Originally crafted and played by California-based guitarist Bruno Coon from the Prairie Fire rock group, it gained notoriety in the capable hands of Peter Tosh. The custom-built guitar resembles an M16 rifle, becoming a metaphorical weapon wielded by Tosh against apartheid and global injustice.

This remarkable guitar has been showcased at prestigious institutions like the Cité de la Musique in Paris, France, and the Jamaica! Jamaica! cultural exhibition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, serving as a poignant reminder of Tosh's enduring influence in the world of music and social activism.

The museum is open Monday to Friday 9:30 am - 6:00 pm and on Saturdays 10:00 am - 6:00 pm.

BY KESI GARDNER Observer writer

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