26 October 2007
Thousands of South Africans crammed into Johannesburg’s Bassline Theatre on Wednesday to bid farewell to music icon Lucky Phillip Dube, who was gunned down outside his home last week.
Dube was shot and killed in what appears have been a botched hijacking in Rosettenville, Johannesburg last Thursday.
During the memorial service, speaker after speaker said South Africa had lost a legend who had touched the lives of many through his music.
Speaking on behalf of the minister of arts and culture, Professor Keorapetse Kgosile said Dube was one of the most important reggae voices to come out of this country.
“He was a global ambassador for South African musical talent and heritage, but also a world-renowned African composer, singer, band leader, cultural activist, visionary and performer,” Kgosile said.
Musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse said Dube has left behind a legacy that would keep his spirit alive.
Gallo Music Group CEO Ivor Haarburger said Dube’s death was senseless and a loss to millions. He described Dube as a quiet and reserved person whose performances on stage were amazing.
“We had great visits to the world, he wanted to expose his music to the Americans and had performed in 81 concerts outside South Africa which were attended by thousands of people,” Haarburger said.
Maskandi artist Bhekumuzi Luthuli could not hold back the tears as he broke down on stage while performing the song Usizi.
“I didn’t know what to call him, either my father or brother, as I learnt a lot from him,” Luthuli said. “He was my fan and I was his.
“He used to encourage me and told me which of my songs he liked and always watched me when I performed. He would later congratulate or tell me if my performance was bad.”
SABC CEO Dali Mpofu said Dube was “still communicating with us, even in his death. The question is whether we are still listening to his message. I think he is asking what has gone wrong with us.”
Paying tribute to their colleague, Dube’s band members sang two of his songs, while his fans did what Dube would have been expected of them if he were still alive – they jumped and danced.
Band member Skipha Shabalala said the band had lost a great teacher who believed in reality, truth and respect. “We are all going to die one day, but why Lucky died in such a barbaric manner? We don’t need such people in our country.”
Speaking on behalf of the Dube family, Job Dube said: “Lucky was a pillar of the family and we’ve lost, but God plans his things.”
Dube was born on 3 August 1964 on a farm just outside the town Ermelo. He was the third child of Sara Dube.
He was an artist that continued to break international barriers, and recently signed a deal with Warner Music International securing the European release of his latest album, Respect.
Dube is survived by his mother Sara, wife Zanele and seven children, one brother and three sisters.