Fifty, HOPE Road, in the Leaganny area of Kingston is a famous destination in Bob Marley country. The reggae legend lived here, his house now transformed into a museum.
On Friday, Jamaica’s most famous house had an eminent visitor, arguably the most famous man from Trinidad and Tobago, barring VS Naipaul. It was Brian Charles Lara, along with a female companion and his team.
It was special, his first visit to the museum. “I had thought of coming here many times before but it never worked out. I didn’t want to miss out this time,” Lara told HT.
“Plus, my friend wanted to see this place too,” he said, pointing at his companion.
“Like most people from the Caribbean, I too am a Marley fan, as are almost all my teammates. All have been here before and I was the only one missing. It's good to set that record right,” he added, before getting busy with signing autographs.
With the World Cup drawing people from distant corners of the world to Kingston, footfalls to the museum have also increased. “On an average we get about 80 visitors everyday. It’s been over 100 in the last few days,” said Rosemary Rowe, the museum supervisor. She added that tourists from South Africa, Ireland and Pakistan have visited the place after the World Cup got under way on Tuesday. Notable among the cricket crowd yet to have come there are those from Zimbabwe, who are in the Jamaican capital for their Group D matches.
Marley was a popular figure in the southern African nation just as he was everywhere else in the continent. Of the many pictures on display capturing his visits to several countries, there are a few of his trip to Zimbabwe, shortly after its independence in April 1980 too, a year before he died of cancer at the age of 36.
Even so many years after his death, the flag-bearer of the Rastafari movement continues to be his country’s most celebrated man. It might seem to the newcomer that the World Cup has overshadowed his presence in souvenir items, but that is at shops near Sabina Park only.
In every other marketplace in the Land of the Humming Bird, the face of a bearded man with wild locks smoking an object that is now banned is unmistakable. His Ebson Les Paul guitar is still attracting scores of onlookers everyday. Some are famous, some not famous and some with famous men.