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South Africa: RIP Lucky Dube
Oct 30, 2007 (071030)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
"The tragic death [of Lucky Dube] shocked reggae adherents across
the continent. Since the news of his death was announced on
Friday, his legion of fans in The Gambia and abroad, jammed radio
stations and media houses, with calls expressing shock and dismay
at the violent killing of their hero. ... [he sang] many crime
related songs and has died by the crime that he helped to fight,
through music." - Daily Observer, Banjul
South African and world-renowned reggae star Lucky Dube was shot
dead in front of two of his children in an attempted carjacking
on October 18. Dube, who began his singing career under the
apartheid regime, eloquently expressed opposition to injustice
and the cry for peace throughout his short career, cut short at
the age of 43.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin continues a variety of tributes and
background on the popular singer, from his website
http://www.luckydubemusic.com, from http://www.afropop.org, and
from other sources. The quote cited above comes from an article
in the Gambian Daily Observer, available on http://allafrica.com .
Additional tributes, along with lyrics and audio clips from some
of his songs, are also available on many other websites. Selected clips are available for listening
on http://www.afropop.org, and selected tracks can be downloaded for $0.99 each.
Mourning Lucky Dube
The Daily Observer (Banjul, Gambia)
Tribute by Reggae-Vives
No Easy Victories
20% discount on orders from http://www.noeasyvictories.org
extended until November 15. Order now! Book is not yet available
in bookstores or through large on-line distributors. Available
now from http://www.noeasyvictories.org and
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
RIP Lucky Phillip Dube (1964-2007)
Lucky Phillip Dube (August 3, 1964-October 18, 2007)
"A lot of people were thinking that once we had this black
government, everything would be fine. Maybe we were only fighting
the past government because it was a white government. But that's
not the case with me. I was just fighting the system. It's the
same now. If there's injustice or any sort of nonsense toward the
people, I sing about that." - Lucky Dube, 2000
The South African reggae musician, Lucky Dube, has been shot dead
in the commercial capital, Johannesburg.
A police spokeswoman said the artist was dropping his son off in
the suburb of Rosettenville on Thursday evening when he was
attacked by armed robbers. His son was already out of the car
when he saw what happened, and then ran for help, Capt Cheryl
One of South Africa's most popular artists, Lucky Dube toured the
world singing about social problems. Lucky Dube began his career
by singing mbaqanga (traditional Zulu) music and recorded his
first album with the Super Soul band in 1982.
He later moved into reggae, producing Rastas Never Die and Think
About The Children in 1984. His albums, Slave, Prisoner and
Together As One saw him gain first national and then global
Lucky Dube released his 21st and most recent album, Respect, in
Lucky Dube's Record Label, Gallo, Mourns His Tragic Loss
The staff of Gallo Record Company are devastated by the news of
the tragic passing of reggae legend Lucky Dube. Lucky was slain
in an attempted hijacking in Rosettenville in Johannesburg last
night, at approximately 8pm, whilst dropping off his children at
a family members house.
Although Lucky attempted to escape the scene, he had been fatally
wounded from the hijacker's attempt to steal his motor vehicle,
and he died almost instantly. Senseless and random, the death of Lucky Dube leaves a great void
in the music industry, as 25 years of music suddenly ends in
South African born but globally revered, Lucky Dube was one of
the country's most toured and beloved artists ever. His music
touched millions around the world, primarily through his 22
recorded albums - in Zulu, English and even Afrikaans - many of
which have been record breakers with phenomenal sales from around
As a frontline artist in the reggae genre, Lucky's creativity and
inventiveness kept growing. Compelling in his musicianship and intriguing in his lyrical
content, Lucky's sonic daring to take his genre to new heights
never failed to amaze even the most ardent fans, whilst reigning
in new devotees to his magic every day.
His energetic band toured with him from continent to continent as
South African musical ambassadors, and his live performances have
earned him fans and accolades the world over.
Lucky joined Teal Records (later to become Gallo) as a
fresh-faced young Mbaqanga singer in 1982. Five albums later he
found a genre that spoke to his soul and changed the way he
viewed the world. This genre was Reggae.
With his long-time sound engineer and best friend Dave Segal, he
created some of the most legendary pieces of reggae music ever
recorded, including the tracks Prisoner, Taxman, Slave, Victims,
Together As One and Respect - all social anthems that garnered
him the adoration of the people of his country - and across the
globe. Lucky was an artist who continued to break international
barriers and recently just signed a deal with Warner Music
International, securing him album releases across Europe of his
latest album Respect.
Ivor J. Haarburger, CEO of Gallo Music Group is deeply saddened
by the loss. "Lucky was not just an extraordinary artist, he was
a personal friend. We go back over twenty years and had both a
business and personal relationship. It's so sad to lose such a
great friend and so tragically, why?"
There are very few words that capture the magnitude of this
devastating loss. As a musician, father and colleague, Lucky was
one of the most charming, respected, selfless and dedicated
people to have lived. He will be sorely missed.
Lucky Dube was survived by his new wife Zanele and his 7 children
Bongi, Nonkululeko, Thokozani, Laura, Siyanda, Philani and his
brand new three-month old baby Melokuhle.
Should you wish to send a message of condolence to Lucky's
family, please email Lucky@gallo.co.za or fax on +27 (0) 11 340
[Short audio clip at
When you flash that badge
You want everyone to shiver
When you flash that badge
You want everyone to worship you
I got no time to worship human kind
I only worship the All Mighty
Through his prophets I have learned
To give respect to everything he created
I give love to those who gimme love
Love those who gimme war.
I love those who hate me
I bless even those who curse me yeah x 2
Gimme gimme respect
Show me show me show me respect.
You could be the president
You could be his deputy
You don't even have to know
My political affiliation
You don't even have to know
My religious affiliation
Respect me, for who I am
And not what I am
Nobody even cares about your dollars
Nobody even cares about your bling bling
Five love to those who give you love
Love to those who give you war.
Love those who hate you
Bless even those who curse you, yeah x 2
Gimme Gimme respect
Show me show me respect
Chorus till fade.
Lucky Dube has been hailed as 'The shining star of African reggae
(afropop.com) and 'South Africa's biggest selling contemporary
artist' (Mail & Guardian). However, he isn't merely this, he's a
modern day hero with a message that has touched millions of
people's hearts around the world. With an incredible 21 albums
under his musical belt, he has proved himself one of not only
South Africa's, but also the world's greatest reggae superstars.
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 inspires him
(Lucky), he humbly notes - 'People! Looking at people, watching
people's movements, the things they do. My songs are based on
real life situations and experiences.'
From the release of his first reggae album in 1984, to his
present superstar status today, Lucky has maintained the humble
nature that brings him closer to the people that so inspire his
music. He has toured the world more times over than anyone could
dream of and shared stages with names such as Maxi Priest, Sinead
O-Connor, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Seal, Ziggy Marley,
Celine Dion, Sting and many, many others. He has raked in over 20
local and international awards for his music and videos, yet as a
person he is unaffected by his success. Still living in the
country that gave him birth, he records with his original sound
engineer and belongs to the same record comany. A true gentleman,
Lucky's down-to-earth nature is one of his finest qualities.
His music is riddled with the desire to make the world a better
Massive hits such as Taxman, Prisoner, The Way It Is, Victims,
Trinity and many others have catapulted him into the homes and
hearts of people all over the world. He sees through the
ridiculous, the injustices, the everyday problems we all have to
deal with as human beings, and slices through to the heart of it.
His incredible repertoire is a cornucopia of mixed emotions,
questioning attitudes and a simple love of a good melody and a
Lucky Philip Dube was born on the 3rd of August in 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'. His birth took place on a small farm outside
the town of Ermelo, a dry, unspectacular area some 150 kilometers
west of Johannesburg. Born into a single parent family, times
were tough for a black boy born into poverty and with the Group
Areas Act and the Pass Laws of the time, many families relocation
was restricted, therefore children grew up not knowing their
fathers at all, as they were often forced to leave home to find
work in the cities.
Lucky's parents had separated before he was born. His mother was
the only bread winner in the family and was forced to relocate to
find work, leaving Lucky and his siblings Thandi and Patrick to
be cared for by his grandmother. Unfortunately for Sarah, work
was scarce and survival became her objective as she took a job as
a domestic worker, barely able to send money home for her
With a father who drank heavily, Lucky is somewhat relieved he
did not get to know his father when he was younger as he is
certain it would have influenced him and swayed his career. To
this day Lucky has only been drunk once, as a young boy, after
being tricked at a party. So awful was the experience that he now
swears off alcohol, cigarettes and drugs completely.
Lucky began working at the age most western children enter
school. He worked for a few years before joining a school himself
out of neccessity to provide for the family. He began by working
in gardens around the white suburbs in the town.
Although a clearly under-priviledged child and despite being
taught in Afrikaans, Lucky excelled at school and although his
situation at home was dire, he started finding a new reason to
attend school - music. As part of the choir, he was a natural
performer and when the choir master walked out of their practise
one day, Lucky was forced to take on the role as the choir
leader, even being placed third in an inter-school competition,
something that had never happened to the choir before. His
popularity amongst his teachers and peers grew dramatically and
Lucky was now finding school to a safe haven in his life.
By chance one day Lucky stumbled across some musical instruments
at school in a cupboard and his curiosity was piqued. He and some
friends decided to start experimenting and before long they had
arranged times to meet and 'borrow' the instruments. The formed
what was to be Lucky's first official band - The Skyway Band, and
genuinely believed that they would find stardom. Unfortunately
that all fell apart when they were discovered playing the
instruments by a teacher who locked the instruments away from
But Lucky was now 18 years old, and although still in school due
to starting late, he had found his passion.
1982 was to become an important year in Lucky's life. He was 18
years old and still in school. Nevertheless, it was then he
joined his first real band. His cousin Richard Siluma had formed
a band called 'The Love Brothers' and when Lucky arrived in
Newcastle where Richard lived, he wanted to join them. Lucky had
already formed a reputation as a strong singer and the group
allowed him to join. They began touring around the district
playing community events and school halls. The Love Brothers
played a traditional Zulu music known as Mbaqanga, and this genre
was to become Lucky's future for a while. It is also one of the
most influencial musical styles in South Africa, blending uptempo
rhythms with social commentary. Two of the more famous Mbaqanga
groups are the Soul Brothers and Mahlathini and The Mahotella
Queens - both musical ambassadors for South Africa.
Richard Siluma had taken a job packing the warehouse of the
record company Teal Records. Through hard work he moved through
the ranks from driver to sales representative to eventually
record producer. He then turned his attention towards the band he
had originally formed - The Love Brothers.
They got together with the view to record and Lucky signed with
Teal Records, which later became Gallo Record Comany - which to
this day is still his record company.
The album was recorded during Lucky's school holidays and Lucky
made his first trip to Johannesburg to begin working on it. The
album, although recorded with The Love Brothers, was released as
'Lucky Dube and The Supersoul' and Richard produced the record.
Lucky was the lead singer but did not write any of the material
on that first record.
The second album came soon afterwards and Lucky was far more
involved with the writing. It lead to a increase in record sales
and Lucky began to earn some decent money. By his third album he
could actually afford to purchase some instruments as well as a
recording desk. Already the sales figures were beginning to hit
gold status and people had begun to notice him. His mother showed
great concerns for the uncertainty of a life made of music and
Lucky swore to complete school. He also made the important
decision to learn English in order to handle the record
executives and media with more confidence. His fourth album was
now released and Lucky was beginning to save some money, looking
to the prospect of moving out of home.
Moving into Reggae
It was around the time of his fifth Mbaqanga album that Lucky met
Dave Segal. Dave was to become his long-time engineer, recording
every one of Lucky's albums in the future. Dave and Lucky formed
a working relationship that has never been rivalled. Richard had
started concentrating solely on Lucky's career and dropped the
'Supersoul' element of the name. All albums were now being
recorded purely as 'Lucky Dube' and all the focus was going
His performances were getting more recognition as well. His dance
moves were really something spectacular and his ability to get
the crowd going made him a sought-after performer.
One of the highlights of Lucky's performances seemed to be the
reggae tracks he would perform - 'Reggae Man' and 'City Life'.
Initially only slowly introducing them into a set, it soon became
apparent that the crowds were more responsive to these songs.
Lucky and Richard decided it was time to record a full album of
reggae songs and judge the response to that. What started there
set Lucky's career as we all know it in motion.
Lucky had been listening to much reggae at the time. The lyrics
particularly intrigued him as they were social messages aimed at
the struggle of the black man, whilst still maintaining a
commercial sound. Lucky felt it was the perfect medium for the
South African political situation.
The team that was Lucky, Richard and Dave went into the studio
and began work on their first reggae release - 4 tracks later,
the mini-album 'Rastas Never Die' was ready. Lucky had played all
the instruments himself with only Dave using studio effects to
back him up. The record was released - and it completely bombed,
only selling on average 4 000 units when his Mbaqanga records
were peaking around 30 000 units.
The record company was not happy about the reggae idea to begin
with, and now they had even more reason to keep Lucky singing in
his familiar style. However, Lucky was not discouraged. He
continued to perform his reggae tracks, and started writing more,
slowly introducing them to his live sets. What happened was the
public slowly started to associate him more and more with this
new sound, and audiences that understood English grew
particularly fond of the reggae songs.
It was time for Lucky to try again. The record company were
adamant that he should record another Zulu record but when he
emerged from the studio, his second reggae album was complete.
The album was called 'Think About The Children' and went on to be
the breakthrough record that would establish him as one of South
Africa's biggest stars. The record continues to sell to this day
and has reached more than platinum status in South Africa alone.
And that was how the legend Lucky Dube was created. Through his
countless sensational reggae albums, Lucky went on to build
himself into one of the biggest names in South African music.
Crime and Corruption [Lyrics - Lucky Dube, 1999]
Do you ever worry
About your car being taken away from you
In broad daylight
Down highway 54
Do you ever worry
About your wife becoming
The woman in black
Do you ever worry
About leaving home and
Coming back in a coffin
With a bullet through your head
So join us and fight this.
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