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SAHA T-shirt archive, photographed for Common, curated by Khanya Mashabela for Common, 6 May–26 July 2023. Image courtesy of A4 Arts Foundation.
Title Free Zimbabwe Now! Date 1980s Type Archival garment
Dimensions 77 x 94 cm

Everybody has the Right to Decide their Own Destiny Bob Marley (back)

In 1979, Bob Marley became an iconic figure in Zimbabwe's Second Chimurenga (revolutionary war) against Ian Smith's colonial government when he released the song Zimbabwe on the album titled Survival, dedicated to African solidarity.

When Zimbabwe gained its independence on 18 April 1980, the new government celebrated the occasion with a concert at Rufaro Stadium in Harare. Bob Marley was invited to perform at the concert. Not only did he accept the invitation, but he refused to accept an artist fee and paid for all of the logistics of bringing his band and equipment to the country.

There were 40 000 people in attendance, including Prince Charles and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Farai Matiashe writes for Aljazeera (2020):

While the band was playing inside the stadium, largely in front of people invited to attend the occasion, big crowds locked outside tried to enter the packed stadium. Police responded by firing tear gas but Marley remained on stage and the show went on. Thankfully for many unable to be at the concert on the 17th, Marley agreed to perform again the next day, with an estimated 100,000 people in attendance.