Media reports from South Africa indicate that reggae icon, Lucky Dube, who less than two months ago performed at Afrifest in Minneapolis, was gunned down in a carjacking in Johannesburg. He was 43.
The reports say Dube was killed immediately after dropping off his son in Rosettenville, a suburb of Johannesburg. His daughter was also present at the time of the attack.
Police Captain Cheryl Engelbrecht told journalists the incident took place at around 8:20p.m local time.
“His son was already out of the car. When he saw what was happening, he ran to ask for help,” Engelbrecht said.
Born Philip Dube on August 3, 1964 on a small farm outside Ermelo, nearly 100 miles west of Johannesburg, his mother later named him Lucky for surviving poor health during his early childhood.
In 1982, Dube traveled to Johannesburg to begin working on his first album called “Lucky Dube and the Supersoul,” a blend of traditional Zulu rhythms with social commentary.
He did not record his first reggae album, “Rasta Never Die,” until1984, after five albums. The apartheid government banned “Rasta Never Die” the following year. By then the album had sold 4,000 copies, exceptional for a black artist in apartheid South Africa. His previous non-reggae records had sold around 30,000 copies.
By the time of his death, Dube had recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English and Afrikaans. His most successful album by far was “Victims,” which sold more than a million copies in 1993.
His latest album was “Respect”. Speaking about the challenge of making a living during the Internet piracy era, Dube told a standing-room-only crowd in Minneapolis on Aug. 20, “One does the work, the other reaps the profits.”
His killers did worse than prey on the fruits of his sweat; they took the life of a musical genius revered by millions around the globe.