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Following a largely triumphant gathering in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa for his 60th birthday last year, the celebrations of the birth of late reggae king Bob Marley move to the west African nation of Ghana which will host this year's Africa Unite Bob Marley celebration show on February 6, the singer's birthdate.
The announcement was made at press conference at the Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Road on Monday night, with both Africa Unite co-ordinator Dennis Wright and Marley's widow Rita giving details of the upcoming special.
Wright announced that the artiste roster for the Ghana event will include Culture, featuring Joseph Hill, The Marley Brothers, the I-Threes, The Tamlins, Chakademus and Pliers, Steel Pulse, Dean Fraser and C-Sharp. Sharing the billing are African artistes Mz Bell, Batman, VIP and the Megastar band.
Other celebratory activities are scheduled for The Phillippines, Belgium, and amjor cities across the US from February through April.
For her part, Rita Marley outlined that the concert, which unlike last year's free event in Addis will attract a cover charge, would benefit the recently established Marley Health Care Centre in the Ghanian town of Konkonuru, which has become her second home. "We are focused on children, and even though we are still doing a lot fore the children here in Jamaica, I really want to help the children in Ghana."
During the launch, Mrs Marley also asked for a moment's silent reflection at the recent passing of the regional head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, His Eminence Yebuna Yeseaq, whom she said had long been a firm supporter of the Marleys. Director of the Bob Marley Museum Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart updated the audience on the activities totake place locally for the Bob Marley birthday, which she said would focus not so much on entertainment but on culture. "We're going to feature drumming, dub poetry and dances as well as workshops and displays," she said.
Speaking to Observer following the launch, Mrs Stewart said the Foundation had not received any official word from the ggovernment regarding the proposal to confer national hero honours on Marley. The representative at the Culture Division of the Ministry of Education Youth and Culture was said to be unavailable when contacted, and similarly the Cabinet secretary. A considerable lobby had emerged in the months leading up to Marley's 60th birthday to have hero honours coincide with the occasion, but the movement appears to have lost traction since then.
Plans are to stage the Bob Marley 62nd birthday celebrations in South Africa in 2007.
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