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Bunny Wailer Tribute: The World is Wailing

Harare, Zimbabwe – Bunny Wailer, reggae’s spirited voice has been muted.  Across the world, fans and foes are mourning his death on March 2,...

Harare, Zimbabwe – Bunny Wailer, reggae’s spirited voice has been muted. 

Across the world, fans and foes are mourning his death on March 2, aged 73. Wailer’s talent captured all, particularly us the grieved. 

His discography made us sing along, certain that the lyrics would soothe us. In my neighbourhood then, songs by Bunny Wailer echoed daily, cementing his global impact.

By @Comic24Derick

Then, self-anointed Rastafarian fans planted their radio speakers in yards, churning his music. I recall surrounded by similar settings in the 80s. 

By the time, we woke up, the beat was already playing on, soaking the sleepy suburbs. If it was not Cool Runnings, it was Ballroom Floor. Besides Crucial, there was Bald Head Jesus – his hit songs.

Now, when I play Wailer’s collection, it swiftly arouses memories, while running down the streets, meandering through the smoke emanating from cannabis cigarettes rolled by self-anointed reggae aficionados. 

We were too innocent to indulge in such habits, but we immersed our souls in Bunny Wailer and his peers’ chants. Across town, record bars unleashed reggae music without fear or signs of reprieve. 

The love of protest music had earlier been torched when Bob Marley descended in Harare to celebrate the nation’s independence. The country had been massaged to accept the Jamaican’s musical output. 
Bunny Wailer 
Later in life, my cousin, Sylvester revived my love for the enriched beat. Whenever I visited his home, he would play reggae music all day and night. Along the way, beer was flowing without any glitches. 

So rich was his reggae collection, it recreated my childhood life. Among his preferences were Wailer, Peter Tosh, and Joseph Hill. When Sylvester departed, he had planted in me a lifelong addiction – reggae music.

Alone, in Sylvester’s absence, I unleashed my collection, while I imbibed on a beer in a bid to preserve the custom that Sylvester had invested in me. My collection grew richer each day. 

Marley, Hill, all deceased reggae greats appealed to my life and their lyrics helped to resurrect the lives of my departed relatives. For me, it was a tribute to my fallen heroes and heroines.

Today, when I retrace Wailer’s life, named Neville O’Riley Livingston at birth, it awakens many departed souls. But I am not the only one mourning. Radio presenter, Terrance Mapurisana aired his tribute. 

“#BunnyWailerRIP #bunnywailer. We shall always remember you for your inspirational musical content,” he tweeted. A tribute was scheduled on his radio show.

Shaggy is also wailing. “Bunny Livingston aka Bunny Wailer founding member and sole survivor of the trio the Wailers is no longer with us. This is a great loss for reggae and the Jamaican people and Reggae fans around the world.”

“There will be a celebration in Zion… Safe travel Jah loyal soldier. #honor Jah B,” said veteran dancehall artist, Spragga Benz. Capleton said, “Condolence to the family of the great legend Bunny Wailer. We give thanks for all your musical contributions.”

A wailer is a mourner who utters long loud high-pitched cries. It may refer to a protester. And to those who were enchanted by Wailer’s gift, they will attest having manifested this feeling. 

Jah B, your voice might be muted, yet your music shall play on.

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