SHARUKO ON SATURDAY
BOB MARLEY would have turned 74 on Wednesday and the music world, as we know it today, would certainly have been a very different scene had he lived this long.
Named Robert Nesta Marley, he was born on February 6, 1945. Just a few weeks after Rod Stewart also came into this world as a newly-born baby in north London on January 10 that year — the youngest of five children born to Robert and Elsie Stewart.
The boy, who would later transform himself into a legend with such hits as “The First Cut Is The Deepest,’’ “Maggie May,’’ “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,’’ and “Some Guys Have All The Luck.’’
In the same year, Eric Clapton was also born on March 30, 1945.
The son of a 16-year-old English mother, Patricia Molly Clapton, and a 25-year-old Canadian soldier Edward Walter Fryer.
Over the course of time, he would transform himself into the only singer to be inducted three times in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — thanks to such timeless classics as “Tears In Heaven,’’ which received six gongs at the 35th Grammys.
A song he wrote under the cloud of grief as a tribute to his four-year-old son Conor, who plunged 53 floors from a New York apartment to his death on March 20, ’91.
And, of course, Thomas Mapfumo was also born in 1945.
Fittingly, as a globe devastated by World War II celebrated the end of that conflict which killed about 100 million people, a new crop of individuals — whose voices would cheer its weary spirits pummelled by bombs and guns — were born.
Franz Beckenbauer was born in a Munich reduced to ruins by World War II on September 11, 1945.
And he would, in later years, become the first man to captain and coach his country to World Cup success in football.
That year, the world also dumped the old order that had inflicted so much misery on it and many of the demonic architects of World War II — Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Goebbels, Wilhelim Burgdorff — died in 1945.
Just 10 days before Bob Marley’s birth, Auschwitz, the enduring symbol of the inhumanity of Holocaust, was liberated by advancing Soviet forces.
Built by Nazi Germany in Poland, it provided the grim setting where at least 1,1 million of its 1,3 million inmates, mainly Jews, Poles, Romani and Soviets, perished, the majority of them in gas chambers.
AND THEN BOB TOLD THE WORLD, NO WOMAN NO CRY
On his 30th birthday, which also marked the 30th year since World War II ended, Bob Marley released one of his finest songs — an anthem whose lyrics appeared scripted to remind the world of the ugly past of the war, the bad people who triggered that conflict and the good people who ended that madness.
And, also, those who were lost along the way. Bob said while the future appeared great, the world should never forget its past, and using the power of his imagination, of his time in poor Trenchtown in Kingston, Jamaica, and his rise into a superstar musician, he illustrated his point.
“I remember when a we used to sit
In a government yard in Trenchtown
Observing the hypocrites
Mingle with the good people we meet.
Good friends we have. Oh . . .
Good friends we have lost, along the way, yeah!
In this great future, you can’t forget your past.
So dry your tears, I say.
No, woman, no cry.
No, woman, no cry. Eh, yeah!’’
Bob Marley also had another huge passion — football.
Maybe, it was naturally given he was born just hours after the day, February 5, which has come to represent the birth of some of the game’s finest sons — Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Carlos Tevez and Gheoghe Hagii, also known as The Maradona of the Carpathian Mountains.
Bob’s tour manager throughout the ’70s when his music exploded was Allan “Skill’’ Cole, one of Jamaica’s most celebrated footballers, who featured for his national team in three World Cup qualifiers.
Thirty eight years have passed since Bob died at a relatively young age of 36.
But the world hasn’t forgotten him and, on Wednesday, on the occasion of what would have been his 74th birthday, there were grand celebrations to remember the iconic singer.
“Happy Birthday to the king & legend @bobmarley,’’ Usain Bolt tweeted.
Millions also remembered Bob and celebrated his work on Wednesday as if he was still alive — from the United States to the United Kingdom, from Australia to Austria, from Brazil to Brazzaville, from Harare to Harlem, with many organising celebratory gigs.
BORN ON THE DAY THE FLOWERS OF MANCHESTER PERISHED
Bob Marley was celebrating his 13th birthday on February 6, 1958 when tragedy struck in the German city of Munich, where Franz Beckenbauer was born.
A chartered plane skidded off the runaway in a crash that eventually killed 23 people — eight Manchester United players, three staff members, a close friend of manager Matt Busby, two crew members and a travel agent.
Wednesday marked the 61st anniversary of that crash, but the world didn’t forget as ceremonies were held in honour of those who perished.
“Manchester United became a reference point in my life as a footballer and of chairman of Bayern Munich,’’ Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of German’s biggest club, told the world.
“Manchester United are more than wins, defeats, titles and lost trophies.
“Manchester United represents unconditional devotion, great joy and deep mourning.
“To this day I’m impressed by how the memory of those who were lost is passed on by fans. They provide a wonderful example of how to honour those who are no longer with us — by never forgetting them.”
The world has surely moved on from the dark days of World War II.
That a decorated German football leader like Rummenigge could pay such a powerful tribute to a club that represents everything British, the one that broke millions of his club’s fans one night in Barcelona with two goals in time added on to become champions of Europe in 1999, is testimony of how times have changed.
And how tragedy is such a powerful uniting force. But, what does this all show us?
Of course, that we are a nation consumed by an obsession to forget those who would have fallen by the wayside as if they never existed.
As if they were never a part of us, as if they never made any impact in our lives, as if they were nothing but shooting stars whose brightness quickly faded, as if they were insignificant, as if we couldn’t wait for them to disappear from our sight.
As if it was right they met their cruel fate, as if we never enjoyed their company, as if they were not fellow human beings, when the possibility is that they were far better people than us — doves of a world dominated by devils.
How can we seemingly forget Alec Dean Fidesi?
The boy who became the face of the greatest tragedy to hit our sport?
The boy who was old enough to know the value of supporting his country, but still young enough to possibly understand why Bafana Bafana, our opponents that day, provoked such fierce resentment among us. Just old enough to make a decision that his football dreams, at club level, would be fulfilled by Dynamos, but still young enough to possibly understand he had chosen probably the most chaotic club in the world.
Too young to understand he had been born when the Dream Team were at the peak of their powers, but certainly old enough to know there used to be a coach called Reinhard Fabisch, who came close to taking us to the World Cup.
For goodness sake, he was only six when he died in that stampede at the National Sports Stadium on July 9, 2000 — the youngest of those who lost their lives that afternoon. The Unlucky 13 who went to support their Warriors but never returned home to tell their story?
How can we be so cruel to never imagine what the world would have delivered for Alec had he lived to this day?
He would have turned 25 this year, maybe studying medicine, maybe flying planes, maybe working in this newsroom, maybe serving his country in the military.
Certainly, old enough to feature for his Warriors in their AFCON qualifier against Congo-Brazzaville next month.
How can we forget something that happened just 19 years ago in our backyard, while others have refused to let the memory of those who died 61 years in Munich fade away?
But then we are the same people who forgot that last year marked the 15th anniversary of that tragedy — the greatest loss of players in a single incident in our football — when the car in which Blessing Makunike, Shingi Arlon and Gary Mashoko were traveling in crashed and turned into a fireball that consumed them.
It’s very likely that, even if we had won World War II, we would have long forgotten about it all by now.
It’s even likely if Bob Marley was one of us, we would have long forgotten about him because, after all, we have already turned our backs on Biggie Tembo, Leonard Dembo and Simon Chimbetu, Titus Majola and we look at the ailing George Shaya as a pest instead of the hero that he is.
How do we even remind our kids to keep paying tribute to those 423 miners who perished in 1972 at Kandamana in Hwange — the ninth worst mining disaster in history — when we have already turned our backs on Yogo Yogo who died just to 16 years ago?
Or that, once upon a time, there lived a boy called Alec Dean Fidesi, and he was only six when he died, caught in the crossfire while supporting his beloved Warriors? Bob Marley, who in 1979, released a song calling on “Africans (to) liberate Zimbabwe,” still lives to this day, even 38 years after his death.
The legendary singer who described us as his “people” whom he didn’t want “to be tricked by mercenaries,” in his song “Zimbabwe,’’ would certainly be disappointed by how soon we tend to forget our heroes and the flowers of our sport we lost in tragic circumstances, including a mere six-year-old boy whose love for his Warriors lured him to his death one gory afternoon at the National Sports Stadium.
To God Be The Glory!
Come on Warriors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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