I was completely shocked today after reading that Lucky Dube had died during an apparent car-jacking attempt. He was just here last month and performed at the Mesa (AZ) Convention Center. Losing him is on the scale of Bob Marley’s death from cancer. Both of these artists, along with Fela Kuti, were struck down in their prime. But they were beyond artists. They were poets/prophets who fought injustice, corruption and exploitation wherever it was found. They risked their own freedom and safety to get their message out………….
He had been dropping his teenage son off in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville on Thursday evening.
Police say three shots were fired through a car window killing Mr. Dube.
Alongside Bob Marley, he was thought of as one of the great reggae artists – singing about social problems.
He was also one of the apartheid regime’s most outspoken critics.
Correspondents say the killing has shocked South Africans who are already accustomed to one of the highest murder rates in the world.
Reggae superstar Lucky Dube will be remembered for musical genius and efforts to create a better world.
Mr Dube was born in Ermelo on 3 August 1964. After a few failed pregnancy attempts by his mother Sarah, Lucky came into the world. Giving birth to a boy was considered a blessing and his mother considered his birth so fortunate that she aptly named him “Lucky”.
This luck followed him for decades as he accumulated an incredible 21 albums under his musical belt, and proved himself one of not only South Africa’s, but also the world’s greatest reggae according to the Gallo Music Group.
His recording company said he was “a man with superb musical taste and genius, an artist with a message, with a reason and a rhyme behind everything he does”.
“As one can judge by listening to his music, he has a message on every album. His songs are based on three main things – political issues, social issues and personal issues – things that play an important role in everyone’s lives.”
When asked what inspired him Mr Dube answered: “People! Looking at people, watching people’s movements, the things they do. My songs are based on real life situations and experiences.”
He released his first reggae album in 1984 and toured the world sharing the stage with Maxi Priest, Sinead O’Connor, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Seal, Ziggy Marley, Celine Dion, Sting, amongst others.
He also won over 20 local and international awards for his music and videos and his hits Taxman, Prisoner, The Way It Is, Victims, Trinity and many others will be remembered by people all over the world.
Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan described the violent death of Mr Dube as not only a family tragedy but a monumental loss for the nation and the music loving people of the world.
“We in the Ministry of Arts and Culture are saddened and stunned at the manner of his death. It marks a sad day in the history of our country,” said Mr Jordan.
He said that Mr Dube was not just a global ambassador for South African musical talent, music and heritage but also a world-renowned African composer, singer, band leader, cultural activist, visionary and performer.
“We hope and pray that his family, friends, relatives and fans throughout the world will have the strength to let his spirit rest in peace,” he said.
“But, above all, we wish to express our heartfelt thanks for his life. He was one of the most important and relevant reggae voices to come out of this country in the 20th Century.”
The minister said that Mr Dube’s death was made more painful because it happened at a time when government has renewed the pledge to forge a partnership with people, communities and their institutions to fight crime.
“We state it categorically that crime is everybody’s problem in this country. Of course, as Government we are not just concerned by its prevalence but doing something to address it,” he said.
“Thus we condemn this senseless and violent killing of an artist who nourished our souls as a nation, articulated the experience and aspirations of the people and used his talent to give us our identity, musical heritage and culture.”
Mr Jordan said that for the last 30 years, Mr Dube had been single-mindedly focused on being a cultural activist and musical visionary who used reggae as an instrument to highlight the plight of the oppressed and call for transformation.
In the 1980s, he was inspired by legendary Bob Marley and Peter Tosh to use his unique voice as a tool to boost self-love and the assertion of African self-determination, identity and heritage.