Ghana sings a 'Redemption Song' Print

Krista Henry – Jamaica Gleaner – June 24, 2007

"Marley is more popular in death than in life because a lot of his work is still being discovered and recognised. The message of his songs was peace, looking out for the underdog, love. Simple as that."

Attributed to Eppie Edwards, deputy director of the National Library of Jamaica

The message of Robert Nesta Marley blossoms in the hearts of many striving for the strength to face adversities. Immortalised by his musical and humanitarian work, the Government of Ghana, Africa, pays homage to Marley this year at the country's Emancipation celebrations.

Marley has been specially selected to be honoured by the Ghanaian Government under the 'Akwaaba Anyemi Programme' as part of the 'Joseph Project'. The Joseph Project facilitates the reconciliation and unification of all Africans, so that their positive spirit and strengths are used to emancipate Africa and Africans worldwide. The project seeks to highlight those who had to overcome great adversities to change the 21st Century into the 'African Century'.

The 11-day programme runs from Sunday, July 22, to Wednesday, August 1, under the general theme 'Reuniting the African Family' and will spread throughout the 10 regions of the country.

Marley's widow, Rita Marley, has been invited to collect the award on behalf of Bob Marley at the Healing Ceremony at Elmina, Central Region, on Sunday, August 1.

Projections

Planned to coincide with Ghana's 50th anniversary of independence, it is projected to attract over 2,500 Ghanaians and African descendants in the diaspora, as well as international guests from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and Europe, among other countries. It is organised by the International Coordinating Council and is also to observe the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Trade in Africans.

According to Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations of Ghana, the programme is aimed at reaching out to the brothers and sisters who were forcibly uprooted from Africa and have been lost to their homeland for more than 400 years. The minister explained to The Sunday Gleaner that "the Joseph Project is the first project from the Akwaaba Anyemi programme. It's an outreach of the Ghana Government to start the process to see how we can better come together to lift ourselves up".

Bob Marley, while alive, was known as a force for uniting warring factions and people and, as a Rastafarian, thoughts of Africa ran deep in his mind. As he sang in Africa Unite, "how good and how pleasant it would be before God and man, to see the unification of all Africans".

His message is being specially honoured, Marley having been named an 'immortal Joseph'. Obetsebi-Lamptey explained that "there are two classifications of Joseph; an immortal Joseph is one that is no longer with us. This individual is one that overcame the challenges of slavery, who has attained levels of excellence and who serves as role models or icons to our children. The living Joseph has done the same and has reached back to Africa".

Distinguished African

Obetsebi-Lamptey said Bob Marley was a distinguished African who pursued excellence and prevailed over the greatest of all adversities, showing himself a true Joseph. In a letter to Rita Marley he stated: "His story (Bob Marley's) is an inspiration to us all and we want to share this story with the world. Marley maximised the talents that God gave him and made so much more out of it for all generations to come".

Bob Marley was selected by a nominating committee of Africans who have similarly excelled in their own fields and thought it important to honour him. Obetsebi-Lamptey said that at the healing ceremony Rita Marley will be receiving a sculpture of Marley.

The Ghanaian Government is also turning one of the slave forts into the home of the African Excellence Experience. Obetsebi-Lamptey said "the museum will celebrate individuals like Bob Marley, who continue to be held high and revered. In sharing his story we will inspire our future generations, who will see the obstacles he overcame as testaments to the power of strong will, faith and positivity".

For more information on the Joseph Project visit the website www.thejosephproject.com.