Skip to content

Forty Years Ago Bob Marley Paid His Own Way to Play Zimbabwe’s Iconic Independence Concert

Independence from colonial rule was a momentous occasion throughout Africa, but the concert to celebrate Zimbabwe’s was one for the history books. The optimism and excitement was reinforced by the appearance of Bob Marley, who had established himself as a symbol of revolutionary Pan-Africanism. That night in April 1980, Zimbabwe became Africa’s newest independent country as Britain’s Union flag was brought down to be replaced by the banner of the nascent state. Bob Marley and his band, the Wailers, stepped onto the stage at Rufaro Stadium in Harare to help usher in Zimbabwe’s independence from British and local white minority rule. It was electrifying. The unmistakable reggae thump of the legendary Jamaican musician filled the air as chants of “Viva Zimbabwe” boomed out over the crowd in-between songs.