Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer


As if entering the Miss World contest hadn’t already made Cindy Breakspeare an outsider, the beauty queen became pregnant with Bob Marley’s child, Damian, in 1977.

She revealed during the annual Bob Marley Lecture organised by the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit, at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Thursday, February 13, that when she returned to Jamaica after a whirlwind trip, she was approached by Marley’s mother, who told her he was actually married to Rita Marley.

This was something Marley denied to her, she said. However, already with child, she resigned herself to her fate.

Six months later, during her pregnancy, she was among the audience with Marley’s mother Cedella, witnessing the joining of hands between political rivals, Michael Manley and Edward Seaga.

Marley had succeeded in effecting peace at the famous One Love Peace Concert of 1978.

Breakspeare, who carried the pregnancy up to nine months, said when her son was born, his father was away on tour and it was a month later that he met his offspring.

According to her, Rita and Sister Minnie came to visit the newest addition to the Marley clan, probably to see if he resembled his father.

“However, it was fine Damian’s resemblance to his father was obvious from the day he was born.”

Both herself and Rita, she said would go on to spend Christmas together at Marley’s mother’s home in Pine Crest, Florida.

Baby Damian was only two years old when his father died of cancer.

During an interview with The Gleaner in 2001, the former beauty queen said her relationship with Marley had been through some changes right before he fell ill and she had Damian.

“I sort of wanted to restructure my life a little bit. So we were dealing with all of that, but I mean, by then Bob was now a superstar, he really was, and he didn’t really have the time to devote to that side of his life very much. So when he fell ill I just set that aside, Rita set her grievances aside, and we all rallied around him. It was all about him at that point, caring for somebody who was going through this terrible thing. None of us wanted to lose him, whether or not we were romantically involved with him.”

Both women never had any confrontations, Breakspeare told The Gleaner then.

Two years ago while being interviewed on Bob Marley Day, Breakspeare said Marley’s inspiration was now manifested through her son.

Breakspeare started her own business, Ital Craft in 1979, with friend Donna Coore, when her son Damian was about six months old. The business grew from strength to strength.

“We started from nothing, virtually. We went to Hellshire beach and dug up cactus, we bought clay pots and wrapped them in sisal string that we dyed and it was just whatever we could imagine to do or make.”

She told The Gleaner back then that Marley used to visit and sit in the workshop.

“I started it at my home at the foot of Russell Heights because I had a self-contained cottage that was empty, so it was the perfect spot for a little workshop. So that was where we started. Bob would come up, man, and pull up a table to the bench and say, ‘alright wha yuh wha mi fi do fi yuh now? Mi is a tradesman yuh nuh’.

“He used to bring me a lot of material whenever he would travel, things to make jewellery, lovely beads and bindings, quartz and stuff like that from London, one trip from Australia he brought shells ! Oh, you couldn’t imagine. We were just flabbergasted when we saw them; they were the most amazing shells.”

The relationship remained strong and in April of 1980 Marley was invited to Zimbabwe to perform for the Independence celebrations.

“They couldn’t afford to pay him. The band and the cost of the equipment and stage light and sound for an event of that magnitude. So he spent his own money and shipped everything from London to make it happen,” she said.

The stadium, she said, was packed to capacity but there were actually more people outside than inside. And those outside, dissatisfied with the fact that they were unable to see the man they revered, stormed the venue.

Media reports at the time showed police teargassing the arena, contributing to the total chaos.

“Such was the love and admiration for Bob in Africa. To understand the true significance of this occasion, one must watch the footage of the performance. See the looks on the faces of the people and feel the energy generated by the crowds. I think there was very nice footage on it in the documentary, Marley. Their hero was in the house.”

Wind beneath their Wings- Jamaica vs the USA

I have no problem with Bob or his talented children including Cedella who is now a designer  in her own right. Thank God she is not singing. Cedella has been designing her urban wear for her market and has been doing very well for her clothing inspired by her father’s message through his songs.

She was invited to design the clothing for the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London for the celebrated Jamaica team who is suddenly the toast of all London. The team is a super star and will be treated as such. Thanks to the sprinting machine they have propelled the team to the only little nation that can embarrass the big bad USA. The little engine that could actually did it . They gave the USA a whooping in 2008 that the USA has never gotten over  and has spent the last 4 years planning how they are going to come back and whoop this little nation back into its place. The plan – well as only money would have it , is to design a running suit like any other suit that will give their boys and girls wings. Like the product Red Bull  the new unies will give the athletes wings this year with some superior ‘golf’ ball design’ quality in the fabric. If we can’t beat them fairly lets beat them where they don’t have it and that is money and technology . So the battle lines have been drawn.

Top shows Jamaica team in their Marley inspired uniforms and below the USA star trek uniforms.


Say what you want to say about the Americans they mean business this year. They will not go through another Olympics embarrased by this little nation again. Jamaica on the other hand is content with their new urban unies. The question is will the IOC address what is now becoming the new ‘drug’ in the sport of athletics.

Anything that enhances the athletes ability to go faster other than natural strength and ability is considered a drug. These unies are designed to give these athletes an edge by taking 0.13 seconds of their running times. That to me sounds like a drug. Why is the USA getting away with this? What if Cedella had the same technology  and give the Jamaican team the same edge the USA would have cried foul and the IOC would have come down like a ton of bricks on the Jamaican team design and ordered the team not to wear them to the Olympics. That is the double standard and cronyism that has become a part of the IOC that makes that organization the biggest farce and hypocrite in organized sports. But that is another story.

Jamaica is  celebrating 50 years of independence and what could be another record setting year for the team  in sprints at the  Olympics despite the USA’s tactics. The new Jamaican uniforms are at best a nice  urban wear that any young person would wear.  Fancy the over 50 wearing the Marley shirt in the opening ceremonies . No I don’t want to imagine that . But what the USA needs to remember you can put wings on anyone and tell them to fly. Its the wind beneath the wings that make them go faster and higher. Technology will be up against heart and talent. I like Jamaica’s chances. Their heart is willing and their flesh is even stronger.