Bob Marley’s “Africa Must Be Free By 1983” Guitar Message

These photos of Bob Marley in his backyard at home in Jamaica were taken by photographer David Burnett for Time Magazine in March of 1976.

Bob Marley 1976 Jamaica Acoustic Guitar Africa Be Free By 1983

Bob Marley Smoking A Joint In His Backyard

Marley did not play many different guitars in his career but this Guild Madeira A-9 acoustic guitar he used at home to write songs with caught my eye because of the piece of paper it has taped to it.

Bob Marley Africa Must Be Free By 1983 So Jah Seh Acoustic Guitar 1976 Jamaica

Upon close inspection, and with help from reader Brock Killingsworth, the man in the photo is Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia aka the “Rastafari Messiah” who died under shady circumstances in 1974.  The H.I.M. under his photo stands for “His Imperial Majesty”.  The rest of the the text reads as follows, SO JAH SEH (a Marley song of the “Natty Dread” album) and a map of Africa that says “Africa Must Be Free By 1983“.

Bob Marley Acoustic Guitar Tape Photo Africa Must Be Free 1983

Here’s a cool photo of Marley holding up a photo of Haile Selassie and performing in front of a banner of the Emperor.

Bob Marley Haile Selassie Photo Ethiopia

Bob Marley Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia

A reader also helped me find out who the Jimi Hendrix look-a-like was in this Bob Marley story…

Fake!!! Photo Of Bob Marley & Jimi Hendrix Playing Soccer Backstage

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