Remembering Lucky Dube: The Iconic Reggae Artist Whose Music Lives
19:11 18.10.2023 (Updated: 19:12 18.10.2023)
© AP Photo / Themba HadebeA lead guitarist of Lucky Dube's band, Skipha Shabalala, left, speaks during the memorial service for the slain reggae star in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007. Music and tears flowed as friends, family and fans expressed their anger at the death of the South African artist who sang about the crime ravaging the country.
© AP Photo / Themba Hadebe
Today, we commemorate the life and legacy of Lucky Philip Dube, Africa's best-selling reggae artist of all time, on the 16th anniversary of his tragic death in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2007.
Born on August 3, 1964, in Ermelo, Transvaal (now Mpumalanga), South Africa, Dube's journey to stardom was not an easy one. Raised by his mother, who named him "Lucky" after a series of failed pregnancies, Dube's humble beginnings did not deter him from pursuing his passion for music.
In a career spanning 25 years, Dube recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English and Afrikaans, leaving an indelible mark on the African and international reggae music industry. His music, often centered around themes of love, peace and unity, resonated with millions around the world.
Dube's worldwide record sales earned him the Best Selling African Musician award at the 1996 World Music Awards. He also won several other awards, including the South African Music Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008 and International Artist of the Year at the Ghana Music Awards.
Some of his most famous songs include “Back to My Roots”, “Reggae Strong For Peace”, “It Is Not Easy”, “Slave”, and “Rastas Never Dies” among others. His albums such as “House Of Exile”, “Prisoner”, “Trinity”, “Slave”, “Respect”, and “Together as One” are still celebrated today.
Dube's fan base was not limited to Africa. He had a significant following around the world, including Jamaica, the United States, connecting Africa with the African diaspora worldwide.
But on the evening of October 18, 2007, the world was shocked by the news of Dube's untimely death. Dube, 43, was gunned down in front of two of his children during an apparent carjacking in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville.
The killers were looking for a Chrysler to hijack. After their search proved fruitless, they parked their VW Polo and waited. Then a Chrysler 300C drove up and stopped not far from them, where Dube dropped off two of his seven children at their uncle's house. The robbers pounced. Two shots were fired. Dube tried to drive away, but crashed his car into a tree and died instantly.
The three men responsible for his murder were later sentenced to life in prison.
As we commemorate the 16th anniversary of his death, we reflect on Dube's significant contributions to music and his enduring influence on reggae artists worldwide. His legacy continues to inspire a new generation of musicians who aspire to reach the heights that Dube did.
LLucky Dube may be gone, but his music lives on. Today, we remember not only the tragic end of his life, but celebrate the remarkable life he led and the timeless music he created.