Pascaline bongo et bob marley

In “Bob Marley et the Dictator"s Daughter”, français journalist Anne-Sophie Jahn looks earlier at auto passionate love affair in between reggae étoiles Bob Marley et Pascaline Bongo, auto daughter of Gabon"s structure president Omar Bongo. This relationship helped thé singer à strengthen his afri roots.

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The histoire was told by Pascaline Bongo herself in a documentaire released in 2012. When thé daughter du Gabon’s structure president Omar Bongo, climate a 23-year-old student in thé US, life met the global superstar Bob Marley, the reggae singer was busy fumée a large joint et said only une thing venir her: “You’re ugly.”


This comment was in reference to the young woman’s straightened hair, i m sorry Marley considered année unacceptable insult à his Africanness. Regardless of this embarrassing sapin introduction, the couple enjoyed a passionate amour affair that lasted until thé idol’s death conditions météorologiques 11 peut être 1981. Passionate marqué almost impossible, admits Bongo it s her in the livre written passant par French reporter Anne-Sophie Jahn, which was published nous 7 April.


Because ns the deux lovers’ personalities and backgrounds, the affair to be never fabriquer completely official. “It no hidden, marqué it wasn’t auditeur either,” sûr Jamaican guitarist junior Marvin, who accompanied Marley in the Wailers.

This romance et the obstacles it encountered to speak a beaucoup about the mentality du a part du newly decolonised africa and the realities of sapin in Gabon at thé time. Over all, cette reveals the relationship that the black populations ns Jamaica, the Caribbean and perhaps even thé US had with an idealised continent, which to be fantasised about but generally very précis known.

Between fascination et misunderstanding

It to be within this context, between fascination et misunderstanding, that Marley et Bongo’s amour story began. Despite their first étang exchange, auto daughter de Gabon’s President, who had come to attend the Wailers’ apparence solo in los Angeles, said that the group finish la fin the night at auto luxurious villa she shared with sa sister Albertine in Beverly Hills.

Marley and Bongo invested a quiet evening together, with no flirting or excesses. However, the young woman suggested that thé singer carry out in Libreville in at an early stage 1980, an event that would finish up setting soja much in motion.


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Marley and the Wailers to be ecstatic. Pour years they had actually been singing around pan-Africanism, declaring their love for their ancestors’ continent, calling parce que le unity – auto cover de their album Survival, which to be released in October 1979, to be a patchwork de the continent’s flags – but paradoxically, none ns these Jamaicans from thé slums ns Kingston had ever before set football in Africa.


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This trip to Gabon – i beg your pardon was complied with by autre to Zimbabwe, à celebrate the new independence du what continued to be known as Rhodesia till 1980 – is at auto heart du Jahn’s book, who title – Bob Marley et the Dictator’s Daughter – clearly sets thé tone du the book.

After being invited to play in Gabon, the Wailers walk not arrêter to asking themselves any type of questions. Even when lock learned that they would be performing during thé birthday celebrations ns Omar Bongo – that they weren’t certain whether cette was auto “king” jaune president, et didn’t care – they still didn’t ask any type of questions. They received a royaliste welcome, and their hosts were incredibly attentive.

Discovery ns a i m so sad unequal country

The reggaemen were surprised venir discover a rather contemporary capital, thanks to thé oil de largent that had been flow in over thé past few years. President Bongo, that was hardly a fan of reggae, didn’t watch the alloue in giving année audience to these ragged, weed-smoking Rastafarians.

Posing together these guys with dirty hair et for whom the height de elegance seemed to be put on tracksuits? He’d rather pass, thanks. Cible Pascaline was, and would remain, his favourite daughter. So cette sent Ali, his son and chosen successor, to retrieve his guests.

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As auto days go by, auto Wailers additionally discovered a sadly unequal country, in i m sorry a taille part of the population lived in excessive poverty. Lock learned that auto President had seulement been re-elected through 99.96% ns the vote.

“We didn’t sait that Omar Bongo to be a dictator,” claimed Marvin bitterly. “We to be innocent, sauce soja happy à be invited venir Africa.” Judy Mowatt, a back-up singer, added that “they weren’t colonised but they no free. Gabon was a neocolonial nation ruled passant par a le noir man.”

In thé book, Bongo herself describes how, native her mettre en ordre of view, the “revolutionary” Marley – who auto US central Intelligence agency viewed at the time ont a “subversive” illustration to be preserved in examine – to be able venir resolve this dilemma. “When nous met,” elle says, “he told moi that my father had actually been the only une to indicate that Haile Selassie move venir Gabon after he was dethroned. Et that the Rastafarians felt that this to be a strong action that deserved your respect et admiration.”

Very lot in amour with his “African princess”

It was in Libreville the their love story began. From climate on, Bongo was frequently in Marley’s company, travelling passant par private jet between Libreville et Los Angeles, where she was studying, as well oui Kingston. The singer, back not very affectionate in public, appeared à be an extremely much in amour with his “African princess” through whom cette dreamt ns having a child.

The roi of reggae, who died at the lâge of 36, autorisé to having actually 11 offspring indigenous seven different mothers et about 25 others who claim à be de his blood.

Marley married Rita, who regularly performed oui a back-up singer parce que le the Wailers, in 1966. However, he continued to have several affairs. à la instance, he had a great love affair through Cindy Breakspeare, who was crowned miss World in 1976 et with whom he had a son, the a venir singer Damian Marley, in 1978. Bongo, nous the divers hand, was privately taking thé pill and was well aware du the truth that they would never be able à be together.


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“Bob used à say venir me: ‘Your dad will never ever let amie marry me’, and I said à myself: ‘No joie with all the ladies in his life… hey was a Rasta and his ideology was to share everything. Et it wasn’t his fault that thé girls jumped conditions météorologiques him. They all knew he was married… marqué he to be a superstar.’”

 

The young woman eventually stopped straightening elle hair et adopted braids. They to be “not actual locks, sa father would never ont let her do that,” said Didier Ping, sa son through her tons husband. They would stay in each other’s lives also after that sad job in December 1980 once his nouveau York-based médecins confirmed that thé melanoma, which had actually been recognize in 1977 cible hadn’t been correctly treated, had actually turned right into a generalised cancer. The médecin confirmed the Marley had seul three weeks venir live.


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He lasted six months, confined to a clinic in Bavaria whereby a German physician tested the end one critique treatment option. Bongo checked out him every weekend during those 6 months and realised that elle wished elle had given birth venir his child. The star died nous 11 pouvez in Miami, where he had to be transferred. The funeral took carré in Kingston, and of course, thé young woman attended. She remained close to Cedella, Marley’s mother, until elle died in 2008.

After studying at the École Nationale d’Administration, elle served oui a government minister during elle father’s rule and then sa brother’s chief du staff antérieur à giving up politics. During all this time, she remained attached à her structure love et his music.

She married blue jeans Ping, and named her tons child Nesta, after Marley, whose main name was Robert Nesta Marley. Bongo, who after thé Wailers regulated to volonté Michael Jackson and Jay Z to jouer in Libreville, is also thé founder de the Abi Reggae festival, which has been organized every année since 2015 in Abidjan.


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Marley was Bongo’s life great love. It was not the case for Marley, however, loving année “African princess” had certainly given the a better understanding of a contant he had longue sung about cible hadn’t really known.

On thé cover ns his last album, Uprising, released a month after his death, a lion-maned Rastafarian raises his eight in victory, while thé last song on auto record, Redemption Song, has excerpts native speeches by the pan-Africanist Rastafarian leader Marcus Garvey et calls à la “emancipation”. Cette certainly seems venir be a discreet tribute to a “princess” named Bongo.

Bob Marley et les Fille du Dictateur, par Anne-Sophie Jahn, published de Grasset, 224 pages, €20 ($23.8).

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