'It was like having Superman as your father'

Famous Name

'It was like having Superman  as your father'

Rohan Anthony Marley’s name is enough to ignite curiosity, especially in the mind of anyone who has heard of the legendary reggae musician, Bob Marley. But then, the fifth son of the musician is used to this. Complementing the name are the dreadlocks, the constant smile and the Rastafari groove in his walk, which distinguishes him from the crowd.

The most frequent question that he has to face regards the origin of his name. “Yes, I know the meaning. My mother told me that my godfather chose my name because he was a fan of a West Indies cricketer called Rohan Kanhai,” he tells Metrolife.
Describing the Marley household, he shares, “It was like having Superman as your father – a man who did so much for people and so naturally and comfortably. He loved so many people so easily that it just resonated through us – so much so, that I grew up doing the same things that my father did because that’s all I saw.”

He adds, “We grew up looking at a man who was constantly helping people – ‘Bob, I need to send my children to school’, ‘Bob, I need some money for this!’ And there was never one complaint; he just kept on doing and doing!”

Reminiscing about his childhood, there is one incident that he will never forget. “He (Bob) told me that if I continued to give him any trouble, I’m not his son,” recalls Rohan.

“I used to skip a lot of school because I thought I was a man at seven. I wanted to do what the grown-ups did and dress like them because at a young age, I was very independent. My grandmother would sometimes take me to her workplace and I knew all the people there. I’d cry when she didn’t let me go,” he laughs.

Unlike his brothers, who were busy learning how to play instruments and making music, Rohan decided to pursue a different passion.

“I lived with my mother (Janet Hunt) and she wasn’t musically-inclined. So, I used to go out and play football with my friends — that’s what we did growing up as youth in Jamaica! And that’s probably why I picked up a soccer ball and not a bongo!” expresses Rohan, who went on to play for the Canadian Football League. “After I finished college, I wanted to be with my brothers. So, I took up my first job as their security and baggage guy – I was their roadie! Being on the road, I started to learn about the drums. I also picked up the guitar because they wanted me to play my dad in a movie,” he adds.

Though he doesn’t call himself a musician, music certainly holds a big place in his life. “I listen to Snoop Lion, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and a lot of 80s music. But my favourite music is my father’s and brothers’ because I listen to them on an  everyday basis,” he says.

On his connection with India, self-reflection seems to be on top of the list. “I want to go higher in my consciousness, learn from the yogis, understand how to breathe properly and discover a better life,”says Rohan. “Being in India’s really warm and comfortable. And the best part is that they pronounce my name properly,” he grins.

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