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The Chapel of Love: Bob Marley’s Last resting Place

Chris Salewicz, Face, The, June 1983

ON A HILLSIDE in a peaceful corner of Jamaica’s lush rural hinterland – Natural Mystic Country – perches the simple white-washed chapel erected on the spot where Bob Marley is buried. Standing in a small garden alongside a single, carefully tended ganja plant and two doves of peace, the chapel overlooks the tranquil hills and valleys where Marley returned to end his days with friends and family before his death in a Miami hospital on May 11, 1981. It was here, in the village of Nine Mile in the parish of St. Anne’s, that he was born 38 years ago, spent a poor childhood and the first years of his marriage to Rita. Their home for the first six years was a small hut. Here was where he was laid to rest in a gold coffin – desssed in a denim suit with his guitar in one hand and his bible in the other – after an ostentatious state funeral in Kingston and a cross-island motorcade carrying the body to this remote spot. On the second anniversary of his death Tuff Gong and Island Records are releasing a ‘new’ Marley album. CHRIS SALEWICZ traveled to Jamaica to discover that the wound left by Bob’s tragic death has almost healed but that the musical and political legacy of his life and work has not faded with time.

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