Bob Marley’s wife, Rita Marley, has spent more than 20 years residing in Ghana. In the 1990s, she relocated to Ghana with Bob Marley’s family. In 2013, she petitioned for and was granted citizenship in Ghana. Rita Marley now has a Ghanaian name — Nana Afua Abodea.
In Ghana’s Aburi, she also has a home. In Accra, Ghana, Rita Marley created a studio in memory of her deceased husband, Bob Marley. The name of it is Studio One. In Ghana, she runs a nonprofit organization. Her foundation, The Rita Marley Foundation, supports charitable endeavors.
Nana Rita Marley started her musical career in the early 1960s as a vocalist with the all-female group The Soulettes, which performed with the Four Tops, Johnny Nash, and other performers of the time. Her single ‘One Draw’, which she released in 1982, was a major hit in Europe but Jamaica said it was not fit for airplay. One Draw was the first reggae single to top the Billboard Disco chart, according to Jamaica Observer.
Rita Marley was born to Leroy Anderson and Cynthia “Beda” Jarrett in Cuba and raised in Trenchtown, Jamaica. She writes in her book No Woman No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley about growing up on Greenwich Park Road with her aunt Viola. Rita Marley has 12 children, over 60 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, with her eldest daughter, Sharon, reportedly married to Ghanaian Ekow Alabi Savage.
She has never regretted moving to Ghana with her family in the 1990s. “This is heaven,” Rita Marley reportedly said. “I see myself still as a Jamaican, but Africa is our roots and I was always looking forward to this transition,” she said. “Nigeria is more like New York, but Ghana is a lot more like what we expect Africa to me.”
In honor of her contributions to Ghana, she was awarded a Ghanaian passport. Her philanthropic foundation in Ghana supports initiatives for the betterment of Accra, Ghana. She helps the pupils of the Methodist Local Primary and J.S.S, both schools in her community, by rehabilitating old school buildings and constructing new ones, as well as by giving scholarships and providing meals for elementary school students to improve their nutrition.
Rita Marley planned to exhume her late husband’s body and bury it in Ethiopia, where she believed he had a “spiritual resting place,” in 2005. She intended to make a month-long event out of the day he would have turned 60. She had hoped to bury him in a Rastafari settlement that had been granted land by the nation’s previous ruler, Haile Selassie.