A singer / performer with enough clout to temporarily stop on – going civil conflicts, the world and Reggae fans now mourn the passing of Lucky Dube.
By: Vanessa Uy
When the Reggae star Lucky Dube was shot in front of his children on October 19, 2007 after an attempted carjacking, the ongoing epidemic of violent crime in South Africa gained worldwide attention. This incident even casts doubts on South African government’s ability to keep peace and order on the coming 2010 World Cup. Despite meeting an untimely end, Lucky Dube lived a life that’s way more interesting than his death.
With a music career that spans 25 years, Lucky Dube has recorded 20 albums. He sang in Africaan, Zulu and English. Strangely though, he is more famous overseas than in his homeland of South Africa. During the 1980’s Apartheid-era South Africa, Lucky Dube used his music to inspire Black South Africans for a non- violent struggle against Apartheid rule.
Lucky Dube’s finest hour came during the 1990’s when his fame had earned him enough clout to temporarily suspend on-going battles in African conflict zones like Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In June 1999, Lucky Dube performed one of his famed 3-hour long shows in Monrovia, Liberia where the said show allowed a cessation of hostilities between the warring factions. The warring factions are willing to temporarily suspend their fighting just to attend a Lucky Dube concert. These fighters really are dedicated fans. Lucky Dube is also big in the US. He frequently played venues in Miami, Florida and in Atlanta, Georgia.
Despite being regarded as the current “gold standard” when it comes to Reggae music, and Lucky’s fans swear that he’s the spiritual heir of the Reggae legend Bob Marley. Lucky Dube’s allegiance to the Rastafarian faith was more academic than spiritual because in interviews he says he doesn’t use marijuana / cannabis. To the uninitiated, the spiritual side of the Rastafarian faith revolves around Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (the one deposed from power on September 12, 1974) and the Emperors lineage to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba plus the “Lion of Judah” references.
Ever since releasing his debut album “Rastas Never Die”, Lucky Dube has indeed come a long way. When he played in the Live 8 Concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, Lucky Dube indeed took Reggae music back to Africa – the music’s spiritual homeland. I just hope that his latest album “Soul Taker” won’t be used by Lucky Dube’s fans as an epitaph of his music career but rather a celebration of his artistry and his quest for a better world. The official Lucky Dube Website is at www.luckydubemusic.com .