Mourning Lucky Dube
The Daily Observer (Banjul)
22 October 2007
Posted to the web 22 October 2007
The Gambian music fraternity is still reeling from the violent death of the South African reggae legend, Lucky Dube on Thursday night.
The tragic death 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. On the GRTS and West Coast, condolences came from both the social and cultural spectrum of The Gambia.
Philip Dube; aka Lucky Dude, died at 43, just two months after he celebrated his birthday.
This wave of reaction to this sad news by the Gambian public, including non-reggae music lovers is indeed a manifestation of the extent at which the The Slave (his touring band) star was admired in The Gambia. His live performance at the Independence Station in Bakau a few years ago had made him even more endearing to the hearts of thousands of Gambians, most of whom attended the spectacular show.
He has sung many crime related songs and has died by the crime that he helped to fight, through music. He was christened Dube at the school choir where his stage singing talent was nurtured.
Despite the fact that most Rastafarians are known to be heavy drinkers and smokers of the "herb", Dube did not indulge in such habits.
Some of his songs that touch on crime include Guns and Roses where he underscores the need for unity and end to the differences in the southern African country. His songs transcend race and he had always inspired people to love and live as one human family.
In his Banjul concert, Lucky took a shot across his fans and simply declared: "When I look at you, see the people." This powerful call for oneness among human family continues to resonate in the country; he has contributed through his melodic voice of peace to the consolidation of peace in The Gambia.
Besides singing, Dube also featured in a movie, which was aptly entitled Getting Lucky and starred in the feature film Voice In The Dark, alongside actor John Savage.
He held the record for having the longest product endorsement for a musician ever in South Africa - The product was Ace Maize Meal.
He was the only South African artist to have had a record, signed to Motown Records. He had won over 20 awards for his musical contribution - both in South Africa and globally. He recorded more than 20 albums in his music career, which spanned more than 25 years.
Dube had been used the same sound engineer since he started recording music, Dave Segal, the same man who also accompanied him on every tour.
In the song, Crazy World, Dube points out the fact that human life has lost the dignity it had and death is more predictable than living.
He left behind a legacy of reggae music laden with socio-political messages. He was a liberator and an iconic symbol of justice, peace and love. He will be remembered most for his political music during the apartheid regime when he released albums, such as Together as One, I am a Prisoner and Think about the Children. His latest album released in 2006, is called Respect.
South Africa 's President Thabo Mbeki, in a message of condolence to Dube's family, appealed to South Africans to unite and confront the "scourge" of crime. "It is indeed very, very sad that this happened to an outstanding South African - an outstanding musician, world renowned," said Mbeki.
The South African investigating authorities should do everything possible to track down the perpetrators of this heinous, callous and dastardly act. We strongly condemn the murder and hope that the perpetrators will be arrested to face the full force of the law. Failure to track a murderer threatens another life.
The killers of Dube who are still at large managed to end his life, but his music and memory will surpass the bullet that fell this great musical icon.
Copyright © 2007 The Daily Observer. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).