Lucky Dube's death 'a tragedy'

2007-10-19 21:14

Johannesburg - The murder of reggae star Lucky Dube sparked outrage and calls to reduce violent crime from across the political spectrum on Friday.

Condolences streaming in for the 43-year-old, who was shot dead in a botched hijacking in Rosettenville, Johannesburg on Thursday night, also praised his legacy.

Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan called him one of the most "important and relevant" reggae voices to come out of this country in the 20th century.

"What makes his death more painful is that it happened at a time when government has renewed its pledge to forge a partnership with people, communities and their institutions to fight crime," he said.

Dube used reggae to highlight the plight of the oppressed and call for transformation.

In the 1980s he was inspired by the legendary Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, using his unique voice to boost self-love and the assertion of African self-determination, identity and heritage.

Although his musical background was rooted in mbaqanga, Lucky Dube was open-minded and receptive to global influences.

'Lucky will be missed'

"The killers of Lucky Dube... have failed to kill his spirit. He will live on through his music in our memory and heritage," Jordan said.

The ANC said his lyrics had been "a thorn in the side of the apartheid government".

"Lucky Dube will be missed for his contribution to the freedom and democracy we enjoy today. Brutal crimes such as these once more remind us ... of the need to join hands with our law enforcement agencies and forge a bold front against crime," said spokeperson Smuts Ngonyama.

Gauteng Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Barbara Creecy said Dube started his music career at 18 as a mbaqanga musician when he joined his cousin's band The Love Brothers.

"His contribution to the development of South African music and his role as an international ambassador for the country will be deeply missed," she said.

The Young Communist League used the death of the "reggae jewel" to call on artists, communities, the government and law enforcement agencies to wage a war on crime through art and music.

"These barbaric acts of criminality are a reflection of the daily reality faced by our people, especially the working class and the poor, who are the most vulnerable sections of our society," said spokesperson Castro Ngobese.

'Recognise the dangers'

The Azanian People's Organisation expressed its "anger and resentment".

"It is one of the avoidable tragedies that we are forced to endure, as our countries and governments refuse to recognise the dangers of nations littered with guns," said the organisation's Mpumelelo Toyise.

Even the South African Football Players Union praised the "reggae king".

The union's deputy general secretary Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe said the union was deeply disturbed by crime in this country.