Lucky Dube has passed away...
Lucky Dube, has been shot dead in front of his children in Johannesburg during an attempted car hijacking. He had been dropping his teenage son and daughter off in the suburb of Rosettenville on Thursday evening, 18th October 2007. His children were already out of the car when three shots were fired through a car window killing their father. Alongside Bob Marley, he was thought of as one of the great reggae artists - singing about political issues, social issues and personal issues. Constantly defying political dictates, his words and music gave hope to the majority of the nation. With his roots firmly in Africa, and with strong links to Rastafarianism, his unique voice and engaging melodies have always set him apart from his peers. He is survived by his wife, Zanele, and his seven children.
LUCKY DUBE... THE SHINING STAR OF AFRICAN REGGAE.
Lucky Philip Dube (pronounced: Doo bay) was born in Ermelo, then in the Eastern Transvaal, now Mpumalanga, on 3 August 1964. His parents separated before his birth and he was raised by his mother, Sarah, who named him "Lucky" because she considered his birth fortunate after a number of failed pregnancies. Dube is a town area in Johannesburg. As with many African families during the apartheid era in South Africa, Dube grew up in poverty in a hostile and racially prejudiced society. Along with his two siblings, Thandi and Patrick, he spent much of his troubled, underprivileged childhood with his grandmother and uncle, while his mother relocated to work.
As a child Dube worked as a gardener but, realizing that he wasn't earning enough to feed his family, he began to attend school. There he joined a choir and, with some friends, formed his first musical ensemble, called The Skyway Band. While at school he discovered the Rastafari movement. At the age of 18 Dube joined his cousin's band, The Love Brothers, playing traditional Zulu music known as mbaqanga. The band signed with Tear Records, which became Gallo Record Company. Though Dube was still at school, the band recorded material in Johannesburg during his school holidays. The resultant album was released under the name Lucky Dube and the Supersoul. The second album was released soon afterwards, and this time Dube wrote some of the lyrics in addition to singing. Around this time he also began to learn English.
On the release of his fifth mbaqanga album, Dave Segal (who became Dube's sound engineer) encouraged him to drop the "Supersoul" element of the name. All subsequent albums were recorded as Lucky Dube. At this time Dube began to note fans were responding positively to some reggae songs he played during live concerts. Drawing inspiration from Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, he felt the socio-political messages associated with Jamaican reggae were relevant to a South African audience in a institutionally racist society. In 1984 he decided to try the new musical genre, and released the mini album "Rastas Never Die". The record sold poorly - around 4000 units - in comparison to the 30000 units his mbaqanga records would sell. Keen to suppress anti-apartheid activism, the regime banned the album in 1985. However, he was not discouraged and continued to perform the reggae tracks live and wrote and produced a second reggae album in 1985 entitled "Think About The Children". It achieved platinum sales status and established Dube as a popular reggae artist in South Africa, in addition to attracting attention outside his homeland.
Lucky Dube continued to release commercially successful albums. In 1989 he won four OKTV Awards for "Prisoner", won another for "Captured Live" the following year and yet another two for "House Of Exile" the year after. His 1993 album "Victims" sold over one million copies worldwide. In 1995 he earned a worldwide recording contract with Motown. His album "Trinity" was the first release on Tabu Records after Motown's acquisition of the label. In 1996 he released a compilation album, "Serious Reggae Business", which led to him being named the "Best Selling African Recording Artist" at the World Music Awards and the "International Artist Of The Year" at the Ghana Music Awards. His next three albums each won South African Music Awards. His most recent album, "Respect" (released in April 2007), earned a European release through a deal with Warner Music. Dube toured internationally, sharing stages with artists such as Sinéad O'Connor, Peter Gabriel and Sting. He appeared at the 1991 Reggae Sunsplash (uniquely that year, was invited back on stage for a 25 minute long encore) and the 2005 Live 8 event in Johannesburg. In addition to performing music Lucky Dube was a sometime actor, appearing in the feature films "Voice In The Dark", "Getting Lucky" and "Lucky Strikes Back".
Dube is one of Africa's best loved reggae artists and he leaves behind a legacy that includes 20 albums spanning his career of over 25 years.
Sources : Wikipedia, BBC World Service, Lucky Dube's website