Africa Unite

AFRICA UNITE DOCUMENTARY DEBUT:By Brittany Somerset, Intrepid Reporter, Kingston, Jamaica.picture-8.pngIn celebration and recognition of the 63rd birthday of the honorable Nesta Robert Marley, the Rita Marley and Bob Marley Foundations jointly presented the Jamaican debut of the documentary film, Africa Unite. Notables, such as prime minister Bruce Golding, opposition party leader Portia Simpson, self-proposed front runner for the 3rd political party, the Rastafari party, Ras Actor Black, Bob Marley’s widow Rita Marley, actor Danny Glover, Angelique Kidjo, and Pliers from legendary musical duo Chakademus and Pliers, were all on hand for the documentary premiere of Africa Unite, which debuted at the Carib 5 Cinema in Kingston on February 6th. At the premiere, it was announced by the MC that Robert Nesta Marley’s name was actually meant to be Nesta Robert Marley, although a mistake was made on his birth certificate. The documentary, directed by Stephanie Black, chronicles the birth of the Rastasfari religion and, more specifically, the journey of Marley brothers Damian, Stephen, Julian, Kymani, Ziggy and Rohan to Ethiopia for the first time together as a family, which took place in 2005. Also included in their entourage was Bob’s old friend Skye High, from the group, “Skye High and the Mau Mau”. Most spectacular is their trip to the palaces and the final resting place of his imperial majesty, “The Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” Haile Selassie. Also included in the documentary are bits and pieces of the “Africa Unite” concert the Marleys performed while in Ethiopia. Cameos in the documentary include Haile Selassie’s granddaughter, Princess Mary. Actor Danny Glover, who is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, and African songstress Angelique Kidjo, also appear in the film. A sub-plot of the documentary is the pilgrimage of an elderly, 70 year old Rastafari gentleman named Ras Tawney, who has kept his faith for 50 years. Watching him leave his homeland of Jamaica for the first time, and approach the tomb of his Lord in Ethiopia, and get down on his hands and knees to thank his Lord for blessing him with the culmination his entire life’s dream, was so endearing and poignant it moved the audience to tears. The film also includes rare archival footage of Bob Marley. The 2005 Africa Unite concert was a re-enactment of and tribute to the now-historic Zimbabwe concert that Bob Marley performed at in 1978. During that event Bob shared his ambitious, utopian vision of African continental unity. His heirs have taken up this cause as should we all.