Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

African Bloggers Pay Tribute To Lucky Dube

Lucky Dube album “Do you ever worry about your house being broken into / 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 crime and corruption….”

These words are from the South African reggae star, Lucky Dube, who passed away on October 18, 2007 after being shot in Johannesburg, South Africa. African bloggers have responded with great sadness at the death of Africa’s greatest reggae artist, best known for his deeply touching songs about peace, justice and equality.

Adeola Aderounmu mourns his death with these words:

I join millions all over the world to mourn the death of Africa’s reggae legend, Lucky Dube. As a teenager, I listened to Lucky Dube’s I am a Slave. That was good music. There were several other good lyrics from him as well.
That he was gunned down on the streets of Johannesburg re-choes those years when Jo’burg was the most dangerous city to live in. But why a brother would kill an un-armed brother just to steal his car is not clear to me? What else is missing in the motive for this senseless killing? In how many ways is madness displayed globally?
I am deeply hurt by this precious life that has been wasted in South Africa and I sympathise with the children who saw their father being shot to death. What a trauma?
Lucky, you have been a hero and a legend. You have written your name indelibly in the sands of time.
We will not forget you!

Sokari writes: Lucky Dube R.I.P:

Thanks for all the happiness you gave us all with your beautiful music – you are gone but your spirit and music will live on. Bless.

My Afritude is totally devastated:

I am totally devastated that Lucky Dube was murdered this week…shocking… I’m so sad for his family, especially his small children who will now have to grow up without their dad…

How incredibly senseless. The question WHY comes to mind at times like this…..
His music has left a legacy though and as sad as this is, no amount of violence can ever take that away…VIVA LUCKY!

Malawian blogger Clement Nyirenda sees the death of Lucky Dube as an opportunity for the South African government to act on the crime wave:

Through his music, Dube helped in sensitizing the world about the hardships faced by black people in South Africa during the days of apartheid.Very sad indeed to note that the freedom that he firmly campaigned for has created “other freedoms” i.e.crime, abortion,same sex marriages, one of which (crime) has eventually led to his own demise.This just confirms that South Africa is not a safe place to stay, whether you are well-known or not.

His death came at a time when the whole world is watching South Africa as it prepares for the 2010 FIFA World Cup:

This is sending out wrong signals to the world as the country prepares to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.In reaction, President Thabo Mbeki made an appeal to South Africans to confront the scourge of crime together.

Clement concludes:

On the overall, the President, as a number one citizen, must accept that violent crime in South Africa is out of control, and that government's remedies to address this scourge have failed so far. The government must seriously start looking at new ways in its fight against crime. The Police force must be revamped. Relieve the current Police bosses of their duties. Bring in some new people who may come in with new ideas!

A Christian blogger in South Africa asks, “What do we do about it?” He also shares his own experience of violence in the streets of Johannesburg:

Please notice I'm not asking how we feel about the sad murder of Lucky Dube… I know how I feel about it.

I am asking what do we do about it?

Megan and I had only been living in Pretoria for about 3 months when we were involved in an attempted hijacking – thankfully we got away with our lives, but it was a traumatic experience for Megan, Courtney and I. We still don't stop at that set of traffic lights at night. Sadly, about a year later, Megan was a victim of a ‘smash and grab’ incident at the same busy intersection. In broad daylight a man simply walked up to her car window smashed the glass and grabbed her handbag and ran away..

I am sad and shocked that a nation as beautiful as ours should struggle with such violence and crime… Of course I understand why it takes place – the gap between those who have, and those who have not, is still huge! The damage done by Apartheid will be felt for many years to come…

What made me so sad about Lucky Dube's death today is that he was shot in front of his teenage son and daughter while three men tried to hijack his car… Then the police officials in the Johannesburg area report that they will not just put ‘any’ policemen on this case, rather, they have appointed a ‘crack team’ to solve this crime. Isn't it sad that you have to be famous to get good service from the police? What do people who are not famous do?

So, the question is what do we do? What do Christians do?

Gus notes that violent crime in South Africa has nothing to do with race nor class:

Today I feel sick because I know that the murder of Lucky Dube is just the tip of the iceberg of violent crime in this country. I know our history contributes to why we are so mean to each other. I don't think violent crime is racially motivated – or even class discriminative – I think it rests on our general disregard for the sacredness of all life.

Our people live in fear of one another, fear produces adrenalin and more violence; I feel it on the streets when we drive, when people knock on our doors, when loved ones travel home late at night, when I walk my dog in the park, when I activate the alarm system at church that'll call police with guns if anyone breaks in.

Senzeni na? (What have we done?)

The Holy Pigeon responds to his death with a post about the glory of the dead, “The Kurt Cobain Syndrome”:

Lucky Dube is now gone, and another South African entertainment icon falls, murdered, alongside Gito Baloi, Brett Goldin and Taliep Petersen. The ‘South African Bob Marley’ was the face of the reggae genre for over 25 years, beginning with his ironically titled first album Rastas Never Die.
I've been thinking about the glory of the dead. The Kurt Cobain Syndrome. Everyone who's dead is immediately a legend. Because they're dead.

The solution to this madness, writes the Holy Pigeon, is mob justice:

But these things are not tragic for any reason other than that we allow them to happen through inaction. I refuse to grieve anyone but my own ignorant self.
The only way, human animals, is mob justice. Let's drop the negative stigma of the term. To you, the person who thinks with his hands (you know who you are): next time you feel led, calmly assemble an active group, try to get to those responsible before the authorities do, and whatever you do, make it public.

Ramadhani Msangi writes in Swahili:

Ni vigumu kuamini lakini ndivyo ilivyo, kuwa mmoja kati ya watu ambao huwa naamini ni wateule walioletwa duniani kwa ajili ya kuifanya dunia kuwa sehemu inayofaa kuishi na hata kupewa hadhi ya dunia, hatunaye tena.

It is hard to believe but that is the reality; that one of the people I believe have been chosen and sent in this world to make the world a better place is no longer with us.

Borrowing from Lucky Dube’s words, Ray Hartley, the editor of The Times of South Africa, argues that his death will put to an end the belief that it is white South Africans who are victims of violence:

THE Times mourns the shocking death of reggae artist Lucky Dube, who was shot dead in Johannesburg on Thursday night.
Dube was one of this country’s greatest — and most popular artists.
He had a conscience and stood against racism. His song, Different colours, one people included the lines “Look at me you see BLACK/ I look at you I see WHITE/ Now is the time to kick that away.”
His tragic death will hopefully finally kick away the mistaken notion that it is white South Africans who are victims of crime.
On Thursday night, it was Lucky Dube. Tonight it could be anyone anywhere.

Mrembo fell in love with his music after she heard him on the radio Capital FM in Uganda:

His death is hitting me like I knew him personally. My heart weeps for his children. No child should have to see thier parent murdered.
I love his music. He used to tour in Uganda quiet often and was truly loved there. I started really liking him after one of his first visits to Uganda, when I heard him speak on a show called “Desert Island Disks” on Capital FM. I was struck by his intelligence which resonated through the raido waves and thus begun my true love affair with Lucky Dube. I introduced Big Al to him and since then we went on to collect /burn most of his CDs. When I left for the UK, the first tapes I bought to take with me were Lucky Dube tapes. I love his songs and music. My favourite Lucky song is “Exile”.
God bless his family and may He receive your Spirit. His untimely death has earned him a spot in the hall of AFRICAN LEGENDS.

Blog Music Chart starts with the report that his death was not an attempted robbery as it has been widely speculated:

It has since emerged that the cops investigating the murder of international reggae artist, Lucky Dube, believe and are handling the case on suspicions that it was a hit! reports Sunday World tabloid paper this morning. This is because the alleged robbers failed to rob him of anything, his car, phone, wallet… they just shot him and left. Gauteng’s top cop Perumal Naidoo and Charles Johnson (who cracked the high profile Leigh Matthews case) have been assigned to the job.
Rumours are spreading like wildfire that two people who are close ties to Dube are prime suspects at this stage, and will be taken in for questioning after the funeral.

Blog Music Chart concludes with lyrics from his song Crime and Corruption:

It is really sad that the man who has sang to passionately against crime in this country, his life was taken by it:
From the song Crime and Corruption:
Do you ever worry about your house being broken into,
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 crime and corruption.
I am still reeling from shock!!!

Lastly, Proudly South Africa reminds us of the beuty of his lyrics:

“how long shall you carry that burden on your shoulders? how long shall those tears keep running down your beautiful face? we all have troubles now and again, know what I’m saying? no matter how hard we try, trouble will find us one way or another. people had trouble since the pope was an alter boy. people had worries from when the dead sea was only critical. hear those drums rolling. listen to those guitars skanking. put a smile on your face. don’t let the troubles get you down.”

22 comments

  • eda knight

    it is so hard to see a legend would just be gone just like that with no questions ask what cold heart did the have towards him but i am sypthamiseing with his family take it one day at a time. JAH BLESS YOUR FAMILY.

  • i was shock at the sudden death of my beloved brother lucky dube, i’ve been enjoying his music since kid. i never heared a swear in all his lyrics. thank you very much for your hard work,, i will deeply miss you but your lyrics will always remain in my heart and mind….may our good God richly bless your family as you sadly left them behind.

    south pacific(vanuatu).

  • Rest In Peace Dube

  • pastor Kenneth A. King

    “Heroes are the hope of a nation or a race. Each time we kill our heroes, we destroy our hope.” The black race has lost another gem in our history again. I am really yet to get over the pain and the shock of Lucky’s demise as a dogged fan of his music. Anyway, his death reminds all of us of the brevity of life and the endlessness of eternity. kennethaking@yahoo.com

  • […] just saw the Global Voices round up of African bloggers’ reaction to the death of South African reggae star Lucky Dube, so I […]

  • The devil is still alive “… killing the Prophets of Reggae …using our own brothers!” Why! Why do we kill our own blood! Shame on you! How long shall we stand aside and look! We’ve lost another great gift of God to the reggae nation, reggae lovers and the to the world as a whole.

    Sifiso, Julius, Thabo and Mbofi you’ve murdered “The” Prophet of Reggae, for the sake of his car! Now “..we are (all) the victims of this situation.” Jehovah see!

    Lucky… you’ve run the race, a very good race. You preached the Gospel of equality and justice. You’ll never be forgotten, they’ve shorten your life making you immortal. You’ve gone back to the dust of the earth, but your soul and legacy will live on.

    Lucky… you were a freedom fighter, you even fought till death! You cried for perfect peace with the poor and the oppressed. He broke “..those (racial) barriers all over the world. It wasn’t easy thing..” but you did you very best.

    Lucky… you played your part “…in this crazy world.” But when the man “..in that long dark coat came to knock at your door..” he used your fellow black man to take away your soul. Indeed “…we are living in a crazy world.”

    Lucky Philip Dube… Rest in perfect peace.

    May Jah heal, protect and bless your traumatized little children.

    Long live Reggae Music.
    Long live Reggae Lovers.
    Long Live The Rasta man.

    Peace and love.

  • jerry karmue

    lucky dube, i don’t know where to start.. his music brought peace and inspirational meaning to my life. there will never be any musicial like you. you will be greatlly miss and you will never be forgotten…R.I.P

  • Val

    We Jamaicans love you Mr.Dube, you are one of us and you will always be one of us, you have made us proud of reggae music and we love and adore you. You will be greatly missed but your music will live in our hearts and on our airwaves. May your soul rest in peace Lucky. You have bought us joy and pride and we love you very much. God speed Lucky. My heart goes out to your kids and family. But you are at rest now and no one can ever hurt you again. Keep playing your music and make them happy up there. We were all blessed to have a wonderful person as you with us. REST IN PEACE,REST IN PEACE

  • Its not everyday you get to listen to music that you can be proud of and listen with your folks and folks folk!Lucky Dube sang positivelyand ethically on many issues that many reggae stars fare very badly on.Life has definately become too cheap in this debased and wicked generation….too sad,too sad!

  • micheal Ayeni

    I am still in tear+++s as i write, i never met him in my life time and it hurts. He is the greatest musician ever from South Africa.His music cuts across every barrier, I only listen to Bob Marley, Tosh, Cliff and Buju, he comes in that class. South Africans must rise up to end violence as a way to honor him. I am a Nigerian and i can tell you violence also exist in my country, 2 face escaped death by whiskers. We have pretenders as leaders in Africa. To take the life of a disciplined man is shocking, what is happening to our generation? What is happening to the black Race? I am so grieved, bitter that our race has reduced to only material chasing race. If democracy is not working for Africans let us return to the days of our fore fathers when security was easily maintained. Lucky, we will forever love you here in Nigeria, you were like Fela an Icon in Africa music. May your soul rest in Peace

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.