On April 18 1980, Zimbabwe gained its independence from Britain. To celebrate the occasion, Bob Marley and The Wailers were invited to perform at the official ceremony at Rufaro Stadium in Harare. Bob rejected a performance fee and footed his travelling expenses as he felt it was the greatest honor of his career. At 8:30 PM, Zimbabwe’s flag was raised and the first official words uttered were: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Bob Marley and The Wailers!
As soon as Bob took to the stage, crowds that could not fit in the stadium and had congregated outside, broke through the gates to join the festivities. The Zimbabwe security forces reacted and fired tear gas into the throng while escorting the performers off stage. Order was restored when the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) marched through the stadium with raised clenched fists. Bob returned to the stage shouting “Freedom!”
It was decided that they would play another concert next day, to give ordinary Zimbabweans the opportunity to see the Bob perform. Over 100,000 people attended that concert.