Rita Marley, Malawi President get legends’ awards: Reggae heroine promises concert in Lilongwe

Legendary Jamaican reggae heroine Rita Marley, wife of the legend himself Bob Marley, on Sunday received an African Diaspora honour in Malawi.

Marley was honoured alongside Malawi President Joyce Banda by the African Communications Agency (ACA) at the 7th Living Legends Banquet that was hosted by ACA at the Bingu Conference Hall in Lilongwe.

“Rita Marley is one woman who is very proud to be African,” said President and founder of ACA Dr. Erieka Bennett, “she lives in Bahamas, Jamaica, Ghana and Ethiopia but she has schools for needy African children in Ghana: She is ‘Nana’ – which in Ghana means Queen – of Ghana.”

Bennett described her as a woman who has in her entire life committed herself to promoting the image of Africa through her music and charity services in Africa.

President Banda and Rita Marley

Malawi leader also hailed Rita Marley for carrying on with her husband’s powerful and revolutionary message of Africa as a continent full of possibilities and hope.

Accepting her Living Legend honour, Rita Marley said she was very excited with the award and also with the fact that she was receiving it in Malawi.

“I’m very proud to be African and it’s very nice to be here with so many nice people in one unity as one people,” said Marley.

Nana offered to bring her family to Malawi for a music concert if it pleased President Banda.

Malawi’s first female President promised to continue helping the poor, especially pupils learning under a tree, girls trapped in early marriages as well as women suffering abuse in their homes and expectant mothers dying while giving birth.

Among the five were one, Beverly Williams, an American with African roots, for her best presentation of Africa’s image through the TV station she works with, BET; Eric Wright, an American entrepreneur who has been in Africa for over 20 years and has his investments spread across the globe; and Dr. Arikana Chihombori, Chair of the African Union’s African Diaspora Health Initiative.

The annual event drew participants from eleven countries among them, Jamaica, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Dubai, and the US.

According to ACA founder Bennett, the event was scheduled to take place in Jamaica but the organizers rescheduled it to Malawi upon President Joyce Banda’s ascendancy to power.

The Living Legend Awards is an annual event that honours various individuals by looking at how they have represented the African diaspora among other things.

Previous similar events took place in Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia, South Africa and Ethiopia and previous honorees included former South African President Nelson Mandela, former Nigerian President Obasanjo, renowned world boxer Muhamad Ali, and Bishop Desmond Tutu.

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