Ziggy Marley on his father and visiting Jamaica


The Reggae legend, Bob Marley would have turned 75 this year and his music is still, to many, the sound of the Caribbean. Despite the icon’s life being tragically cut short, his eldest son, Ziggy, has carried on both his father’s musical legacy and his quest to make the world a better place.

Only days after being wounded in an assassination attempt at his home in 1976, Bob Marley performed at a peace concert in Kingston, Jamaica, famously saying, “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?”

Bob Marley died in 1981 of cancer at age 36, when Ziggy, now 52, was just 13 years old.

“Going though photos, it hits me how young he was,” said Ziggy. “It’s sad, but he did so much in that time— it’s still a testament to his ethics and spirituality. He knew he had to do everything in the shortest amount of time.” Although Reggae, says Ziggy, “never goes out of style. In good times and bad, it has a place in society,” he says. “It gives strength and encouragement to people who are oppressed.”

As a resident of the U.S. for the past 15 years, Ziggy still stays connected to Jamaica. “America is a very big, sprawling country and an individualized place,” he says. “Jamaica more natural and spiritual — where there is more nature, there is more spirituality.”

He urges visitors to Jamaica to connect to the country’s natural environment, including at less well-known places as Cane River Falls in St. Andrew Parish and the mineral springs in Bath, near Kingston, where he would go to sooth his aching muscles during his soccer-playing days. Staying at a rural inn or AirB&B would give visitors an opportunity to connect with the Jamaica that’s closest to his heart, Ziggy says.

“It’s not a storybook or a fantasy — Jamaica is a modern place, but more rebellious against western culture,” he says. “In the countryside most people don’t have much material wealth, but they are full of happiness and joy.”

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