The controversial claim being made by the reggae legend’s granddaughter He was reggae’s most famous son and the man credited with doing more to promote the culture of Rastafarianism than anyone else. Jamaican-born Bob Marley remains an iconic figure and his record sales to date are believed to top 190 million (GBP). He died in May 1981 from cancer aged 36.
Despite his official cause of death being widely accepted as due to acral lentiginous melanoma, nearly three decades after his death his granddaughter Donisha Prendergas, a documentary filmmaker, is controversially claiming that the real cause of Marley’s death was deliberate poisoning.
Prendergast, 25, who lives in Kingston, Jamaica, is currently in the UK filming a documentary on Rastafarianism, told The Voice: “Somebody killed him, look at history it shows us what they do to our leaders, he was a healthy man who exercised regularly. I would love to believe that he died of natural causes but history won’t allow me to. I believe he was poisoned.” The young filmmaker, who is a well-known figure in her native Jamaica, refuses to accept reports that her grandfather’s death was a natural one, but instead makes astonishing claims that he was poisoned by “political interests who feared his outspokenness to educate the masses about the Babylon system”.
As outspoken as her late grandfather, Prendergast said: “Everytime I look at a Rasta man I can’t help but remember my grandfather. Bob Marley was reggae music in a lot of ways, He wasn’t just speaking to entertain people or to make a dollar, instead what he was saying cost him his life. “His life has inspired me to explore Rasta around the world. I wanted to know what Rasta was like around the world. I thought I was just going to see the roots and evolution, but Rasta is a cultural expression. Not everybody who wears dreadlocks or smokes weed will claim to be Rasta but they’re expressing Rasta in a certain essence, so it’s just about understanding that” Her global documentary, Rasta, A Soul’s Journey, will examine how Rastafari communities have evolved in: the United Kingdom, US, Israel, India, Jamaica, South Africa, Ethiopia and Canada.
Donisha will meet people who have chosen a Rastafari lifestyle, and she hopes viewers will be enlightened of who Rastas are and how they live. Her main aspiration is to remind black people that they are African and that Africa is accessible today. She said: “Rastas are very secretive and mystical people we don’t believe in giving a lot of our energies to this world, instead we keep it in our community, as we are building a nation of African-minded people. “There is a lot to do in Africa that’s where my grandmother currently lives, the media has told us a lot of lies. It’s up to us to really seek truth and remember that we only know what they tell us”, she told The Voice.”
Donisha also wants to educate those of African heritage about the importance of embracing their natural identity instead of adapting to the white aesthetic of straight hair and fair skin. “It’s Important to embrace African identity. Rasta is the only movement that is keeping Africa alive. Look at my hair. The fact I’ve allowed my hair to grow naturally is an African expression. One must come to know them self outside of what the Westerners teach. “My family are Rasta. We are all African and the Western society deceives us and forces us to conform and it doesn’t suit us. I stopped wearing jeans because I don’t like how men respond to me. So now I wear skirts. My gran lives in Africa and has lived there for the past three years.”
“I’m not looking for awards from the film but instead I want to expose people to themselves. This film will go international and will be shown theatrically in schools, we want to take it all over the world.” Despite plans for the film to be broadcasted internationally, she explains that what satisfies her most is knowing that Bob would be been happy to see her fulfilling what he would have wanted her to. She said: “The system of Babylon that my grandfather talks about is it real? The fact that I have to spend money to eat, I can’t pick a fruit of a tree because somebody may sue me. There are hungry people in this world when others bellies are too full. Let’s not ignore these things; where is the justice and the love in this world? “I don’t like to fight and whenever I fight it’s going to be a serious fight. I love to love though every day, it’s the easiest thing for me to do.”
Offering advice to others she says: “We can be the heroes that we want to be in this world, we just have to train ourselves. Don’t try to be anything else that doesn’t make you feel good even if it means that you’re the odd one out, because the odd one out is the most special one. Let’s encourage others to be themselves.”
By Merissa Richards for Voice Online.