Friday, April 11, 2008

Rest in Freedom -- Cedella Booker Marley

At the age of 81, Cedella Booker Marley, passed away Tuesday night (April 8th) from a long time illness in her South Florida home. Cedella was mother to legendary Jamaican icon Bob Marley.

Born Cedella Malcolm she resided in Rhoden Hall and St. Ann Jamaica. At the age of 18, she gave birth to Robert Nesta Marley -- later known as Bob Marley, the KING of Reggae. During her pregnancy she was in a constant state of sickness and was in labor for almost 2 days. Cedella was married to Norval Marley, a 50 year old Marine officer & British quartermaster. Norval provided little financial support and seldom saw his son due to his family's disapproving their relationship. Because of this Nesta was also denied his rightful inhertitance.

Young Nesta was raised by his mom with great assitance from her aunts, brother, and father. At four months old Nesta became sick as a result of 'science'. Science in the Jamaican traditional sense spoke to unseen forces that were being manipulated by other human beings for purposes of evil. Cedella would spend most of her time trying to protect him from all ‘evil’ to the best of her ability.

As a child, his imagination was captured by proverbs, rural chores, storytelling, and more. Briefly, he experienced 'town life' in Kingston with his father's nephew who was a business man. After a while Cedella decided to move to Kingston even though she hated the cramped spaces in their new residence, Concrete Jungle. She decided to take a positive stance and view it as a door to bigger and better things to come. Once a teenager, Bob discovered young men were meant to suffer from social exclusion and the cycle of poverty that could only be broken by the tempting, fast benefiting prospects of illegal activity. Bob made his first recording “Judge Not” at producer Leslie Kong’s Beverly’s Production studio in Trench Town.

After a few years of living in Trench Town, Cedella decided to take up an offer made to her by her relatives in Delaware in the US. Bob refused to leave his roots and career behind. His communtiy was his material and he loved his country. Though a difficult decision, Cedella parted with her son but their connection would not be broken. After his mother's departure, he adopted Rasta elders as father figures to fill her absence. Cedella got remarried in Delaware to Edward Booker. Shortly thereafter they relocated to Miami were she spent 20 years.

Cedella was an author and musician. During her career as an author she released two books about Bob Marley -- 1997's Bob Marley: An Intimate Portrait by His Mother and Bob Marley, My Son in 2003. These two books offered glimpses into his personal life, shedding light on his relationships with his wife Rita and bandmates Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Booker released two albums, Awake Zion in 1991, and in the following year a collection of Caribbean folk songs for children called Smilin' Island of Song. She also frequently performed with Bob Marley's sons Ky-Mani, Ziggy, Stephen, Damian and Julian. Cedella survived by two children, Claudette Livingston and Richard Booker, and 52 grandchildren.

"Dearest Mama Marley, you will be severely missed. Your legacy will live on through your children and grandchildren. We know that you are now with Bob, smiling down upon us singing more beautiful songs of praise. Rest in Freedom!"

~BabyGirl aka Caribgem

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