Remembering an African Legend
It’s been 10 years since the death of African reggae legend Lucky Dube. He was shot and killed in the attempted hijacking of his vehicle on the night of 18 October 2007 in the suburb of Rosettenville, Johannesburg, South Africa. Apparently the carjackers thought he was a foreign national they caught and sentenced to life in prison.
An icon was robbed of his life, a family its father, a continent and the world lost a reggae legend.
I grew up listening to reggae music. My father was an avid fan he had vinyl record collections of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear and played them on his Supersonic stereo system. He was a conscious man. Reggae music has never been just music it’s the voice for the conscious, it’s the voice for those who have none, the voice of society’s conscience ……
And then along came Lucky Dube inspired by the likes of Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff he embraced the reggae music sound, he owned it, and used it to tell his story, to tell Africa’s story, the socio-political struggle that was his reality. He spoke against apartheid, racism and discrimination; he sang about unity.
His music was relevant not just to South Africa (where at some point his music was banned by the then apartheid government) but to the continent, it resonated deep with his fans.
Every where in the world People are fighting for freedom Nobody knows what is right Nobody knows what is wrong The black man say it's the white man The white man say it's the black man Indians say it's the coloureds Coloureds say it's everyone Your mother didn't tell you the truth Cause my father didn't tell me the truth Nobody knows what is wrong And what is right
One of his tracks is called Remember Me.
I remembered him the only way I know how. I remember as a young lad watching his music on a TV. Watching this dread-locked musician singing about being a prisoner, singing about different colours one people or why we can’t live together as one? I was not old enough to fully understand the impact of his lyrics but even then I knew there was something profound going on… well we weren’t living together then we still not entirely getting along today; even today…..
His music was breaking barriers, transcending genres and cultures going beyond the realm of simply reggae music, evolving, bridging gaps and unifying different races into one people.
What happens when reggae music meets an orchestra? Symphonic Reggae that’s what you get. Here is a performance by the National Chamber Orchestra arranged and conducted by Michael Hankinson Featuring Lucky Dube Live in Concert 5/1/98
I wish there could have been more of this.
The University Of Pretoria Symphony conducted by Gerben Grooten performed a touching tribute to symphonic reggae, in the Musaion Perfomance Hall at the University on the 29th of May 2015……
Gallo Records South Africa the record label which he was signed under (initially Teal Records before it got incorporated into Gallo) released a 25 track Commemorative Album titled The Times We’ve Shared
Links to purchase or listen online to the album can be found HERE.
Born on the 3rd of August 1964 his mother named Lucky; because his was a fortuitous birth after several failed pregnancies.
Lucky Dube’s legacy lives on, not only in our hearts but through his children Nkulee and Thokozani who have picked up microphones and celebrate their right to live on a musical stage ….
We are lucky to have been blessed with this star
WE Remember You
Images courtesy of Gallo Records South Africa