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Marley birthday celebrations encourage J'cans to find their purpose ... and unleash their 'soul rebel'

Published:Friday | February 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle/Gleaner Writer
A Peter Simon picture of Bob Marley, performing with the picture of Emperor Haile Selassie I in the background.
Dr K’adamawe K’nife
Krystal Tomlinson

Each year, the Bob Marley birthday celebrations (part of Reggae Month activities) are held under a theme, a theme that usually calls Jamaicans to action. This year was no different as the festivities were held under the theme 'Soul Rebel 73'. As the country reminisced on the life of the late reggae legend, on what would have been his 73rd birthday, discussions surrounding how the Gong lived his life were held with one goal in mind - to encourage Jamaicans to find their purpose and unleash their 'soul rebels.




Under the theme 'Soul Rebel ... The Enlightened Man', the third and final symposium held on the afternoon of February 6 saw panellists taking different approaches to get the audience to awaken the rebel in themselves and bring about meaningful change to the society.

Attorney-at-law Jodi-Ann Quarrie encouraged individuals to figure out what they want their contribution on earth to be and then take the necessary steps in ensuring they achieve whatever goals they set for themselves.

"A soul rebel, to me, is someone who makes a deliberate conscious step to make a difference," she said. "Try to figure out what it is you want to do and recognise that you can do one thing that can make you money, while you also do something else to make a difference."

Sharing similar sentiments was motivational speaker and communications manager Krystal Tomlinson, who pointed out that much of her speaking sessions last year were centred around helping people find their purpose. Tomlinson said she found out that when people begin to think about the fact that they are going to die eventually, they take life a little bit more serious.

"Forcing people to ask those questions or to confront the truth ... that's when they start looking a little differently at the now, and they are more mindful of this space that they occupy and they start to take things a little bit more seriously," she explained.

"Death works for you if you allow it to give you some sense of purpose. When someone speaks about you at your funeral, what is the subtotal of your contribution to this world? When we talk about the chances of each of us not being born, it's like one in a hundred trillion or more. You nearly never deh here. Somebody else could have been occupying this space except you and you can call it a miracle, you can call it luck or divine whatever, the point is that you have been chosen to occupy this space, so weh yah go do?"




Focusing more on black consciousness and getting Africans to realise the power they hold, Chakabars also encouraged people to unleash their soul rebel. He explained that for far too long, black people have allowed their oppressors to brainwash them into thinking that black isn't good and that has helped to steer people away from their purpose.

"If certain people were alive today, they would be vexed at the things that they see. Europeans put the youth in school and tell them that you have to wash the blackout of your hair and make your hair straight, you affi wash the blackout of your mind, you can't get a work unless you light-skinned and we affi start bun dem down," he said. "We have to get to the point where we say we have the people, we have the resources, we have the brains, we need to get things done. We need to start producing our own, selling our own and buying back our own."

Dr K'adamawe K'nife, senior lecturer in the faculty of Social Science at the University of the West Indies, closed things off by encouraging people to achieve a certain level of mental stability if they are to contribute to the society in a meaningful way and unlock their true potential. He expressed that for people to truly walk in their purpose, they have to first free their minds and submit themselves to that freedom, similar to how Bob Marley did.

"A man who has an enslaved mind can't serve free-minded people," he said.