Malawi Rastas excited with Rita Marley, Garvey visit

The Rastafari community in the country is reeling with excitement with the news that Rita Marley, wife to late Reggae legend Bob Marley, and Marcus Garvey’s son, Dr. Julius Garvey will be in the country over the weekend for the 7th Africa’s International Media Summit (AIMS).

The two are attending the AIMS at the Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe from November 17 – 18 where Rita Marley is going to be honoured as a Living Legend at the Living Legend Banquet to be graced by President Joyce Banda on Saturday.

President for Rastafari for Unity in Malawi, Ras Judah, said it was very exciting to learn that the legendary Rita Marley would set foot on the Malawi soil.

“As Rastafari community in Malawi we are very overwhelmed with the news,” said Ras Judah, who is also Secretary General for the Rastafari Church of Malawi, adding, “You see, everyone who meets Sister Rita in person gets inspired both spiritually and morally.”

Ras Juda – Everyone who meets Sister Rita in person gets inspired both spiritually and morally

Judah said although the news had caught them unawares, the Rastafari community would mobilize a sizeable representation to welcome Rita Marley at the event.

“We can’t wait to see Sister Rita and we know that our presence would make her feel at home and we pray that we have an opportunity to chat with her even if it means for five minutes,” said Judah.

The Rastafari Community for Unity President described the year 2012 as a unique year for the Rastafari community considering that sometime in July Dr. Julius Garvey, son to Marcus Garvey – a renown name in Rastafarism – visited the country when President Joyce Banda met Doctors in Diaspora.

Garvey is also expected to attend the 7th AIMS which will be hosted by the African Communications Agency (ACA) in partnership with Malawi Government, the African Union, and the Diaspora African Forum among other players.

ACA president, who is also Head of Mission for the African Union’s Diaspora African Forum (AUDAF) Ambassador Erieka Bennett told journalists in Lilongwe during the week that the Rita Marley would be honoured during the event.

“This years Living Legends Banquet will feature the passing of the touch from one generation to the other and the legendary Nana Rita Marley will be honoured as a Living Legend,” said Bennett.

The theme for the 7th AIMS event is The role of the media in portraying the image of Africa but as a partner of this year’s event the AU will take advantage of the summit to advance the union’s new campaign launch of “I am an African, I am the African Union.”

According to Bennett, the two-day event will bring together entrepreneurs and media professionals along with government officials, individuals and organizations throughout Africa in order to facilitate discussion on rebranding the image of the continent of Africa.

Major media stakeholders such as CNN, Reuters, Associated Press (AP) and Malawi local media, along with some of the world’s top journalists, are expected to take part in the annual conference.

According to Ambassador Bennett, ACA was created in 1997 under the leadership of Dr. Bamanga Tukur and H.E Dr. Erieka Bennett herself, and it was the first African advertising partner of CNN in Africa, while AIMS conference was created in 2006 as part of ACA’s ongoing effort to ensure that Africa is portrayed in a positive light throughout mainstream media, according to information sourced from the organization’s website.

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