Who is Bob Marley's mother?

bob marley, Cedella Marley, father bob marley -

Who is Bob Marley's mother?

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If you love the reggae icon, you probably want to know more about its origins? Who are Bob Marley's parents? It's a way to understand what was important to him and what shaped his personality. Find out who Bob Marley's mother is.

Like you, I asked myself these questions. I have been fascinated with rastafarianism and reggae, so I wanted to find out more about what inspired Bob Marley. So I researched the singer's mother and this is what I found.

Cedella Booker Marley

From her childhood in Jamaica to her death in Florida, Cedella Marley had a rich life, and not just because she was the mother of a certain Bob Marley. As the daughter of farmers, she was able to deal with the ups and downs of life. She herself grew to become a well-known singer and writer.

In our article, you can learn more about Mama B. You can learn more about :

  • His childhood in Jamaica;
  • His life in the United States;
  • His relationship with his son and his activities;

Ready to meet Cedella? Read on and find out everything you need to know about the mother of the reggae icon!




Cedella Editha Malcolm was born on July 23, 1926, at Rhoden Hall in the parish of Saint Ann, an area in the north central part of the island. Her parents (Omeriah Malcolm and Albertha Whilby) ran a farm where they grew bananas, coffee and peppers. Life was hard but the family had an important place in the parish. Cedella was the sixth daughter of the couple.

She took her first steps into this hard-working environment and met an important man when she was only 17 years old: Norval Sinclair Marley. He worked on the farm as the plantation manager for Her Majesty. This settler's son was over 55 years old when he made Cedella fall in love with him. He was a white English "captain. He was born in Jamaica to British colonists. This relationship was frowned upon in a social context still heavily marked by slavery. But that did not stop them from marrying (in 1944) and giving birth to a certain Robert Nesta Marley in 1945 (does that ring a bell?).

marley moeder

a)A life together on your own!

Norval's family strongly disapproved of this union. And Norval himself was not very enthusiastic about this marriage. He was often away on business. He had told Cedella that he was a member of the Royal Marines, which was the perfect excuse to leave home.

Cedella stayed with her parents and had to raise her son alone. Of course, Norval gives her occasional financial support, but it is not the life Cedella had dreamed of as a married couple.

Life becomes increasingly difficult. Disowned and abandoned by his family, the man had sunk into alcoholism. Norval had separated the mother from her son and moved the boy to Kingston with him so that, as he had told Cedella, Bob could go to school. Little Bob was then six years old. He stayed with his father for two years. Driving through the capital, the mother noticed her young child loitering in the streets. She soon learned that Bob's father had entrusted him to an old woman to do the housework for her.

Cedella immediately takes Bob back to the family farm.

The couple separated for good when Norval Sinclair Marley died in 1955.

b)One difficulty after another

But the work in the fields pays less and less. And even though Cedella works hard to help her parents, she will soon have to make a choice. She could stay in St. Ann and drag her son into increasingly difficult and unprofitable work in the fields, or she could leave.

She chose the second option. Like many farmers at the time - it was the early 1950s - the young woman left with her son for the capital, hoping to find a better paying job.

But the dream soon turns into a nightmare. The mother and her son settle in a ghetto (Trenchtown) and get by. She lives off odd jobs, one more difficult than the other, and doesn't make enough money to make a decent living.

She endured this daily misery for some time and then decided to change and take her life into her own hands. She had a second child, Claudette, with Taddeus Livingston, the father of Bunny Livingston, who became Bunny Wailer, a childhood friend of her son.


It was her husband's death from a heart attack that set things in motion. Even though he didn't pay her money regularly, the small amounts Norval paid were still "bread and butter." When he died, the young widow received nothing and had to cope with daily life all by herself. So she made an important decision: to look elsewhere for greener pastures.


She is going to the United States. She leaves her child in Trenchtown with the Livingston family and moves to Delaware

She worked as a maid in many hotels. Then she met an American civil servant, Edward Booker, whom she married. Her life became more stable and she was able to welcome her son who joined her in the early 1960s.

The woman continued her American life. She faced a second loss with the death of her son Anthony, whom she had had with Edward, and a few years later her husband died. She then left to start a new life in Miami, Florida. Her son bought her a beautiful house which she settled into.

It was in Miami that she accompanied her son to his deathbed and then passed away herself in 2008 at the age of 81.



As you may have guessed, Cedella's life has not always been rosy. But the young woman has always resisted.Ā  She became very famous thanks to her son, who often talked about her. But not only that.


a)A female fighter


From a young, neglected mother to a fighting woman, Cedella has always moved forward without ever giving up. She faced racial humiliation, social inequality, poverty...

Mama B, the nickname she was given, never wanted to be dominated by events. She was a very humanist and taught her son Bob to respect others. Over the years, she became a muse for all women facing inequality.

Even when confronted with it, she always maintained her respect for others and used these obstacles to move forward. She has turned a difficult life into a life full of love.

bob marly mother

b)An artist


She also tried practicing art. She discovered singing with her son and has also made records. If you search hard enough, you can find two of her albums. The first, Awake Zion, was released in 1991. The second, Smilin' Island of Song, was released a year later.


Mama B has also tried writing. She has published two books about her son: Bob Marley, My Son and Bob Marley: An Intimate Portrait by His Mother.

She also organized the 9 Mile Music Festival. Each year a music festival is held in Miami to promote the message of peace that her son champions. The money raised is donated to local charities. Food is also collected. She also participated as a singer in the festival commemorating the 60th anniversary of her son's birth in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Cedella was close to her son's beloved Rasta precepts . For a long time, she wore giddy dreadlocks.

Before she died a natural death, the woman became a beacon of reggae and Rastafarianism.




The Marleys aren't just Bob and his musician sons. There's also Cedella, the singer's mother. A strong, sympathetic and unassuming woman, she has gotten through tough times without ever blinking an eye. From rural Jamaica to Miami, she has built a life worthy of a movie heroine.

Now you know where Bob Marley got his strength from! And you'll be able to answer all those who want to know more about the Marleys mother and son. A young farm girl, quickly abandoned by her husband, Cedella never gave up and managed to rebuild her life in the United States. She lived in a ghetto, had to work hard, lost her husbands and a son, but always retained the strength to keep going. You can point to her as an example of strong women who mattered!

All her life she put her family first and of course her first son. She was by his side when the singer began to falter. She was with him during his treatment in Germany and stayed by his bedside when he breathed his last.

You can also adopt one of these sweatshirts with Rasta symbols that you can find here

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