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The Legacy of Lucky Dube


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Lucky Dube, a revered South African reggae musician and Rastafarian, was an artist whose music embodied the revolutionary spirit of the anti-apartheid struggle.

With a career spanning over two decades, he released 22 albums in three languages- English, Zulu, and Afrikaans, making him one of South Africa’s most successful and beloved musicians.

Through his lyrics and melodies, Dube was a voice for the oppressed and a catalyst for social change in his country.

His songs spoke of the struggles of everyday people, the fight for human rights, and the need for unity in the face of oppression.

His music was a unifying force that transcended race, language, and culture, making him a hero to millions of people around the world.

Despite his fame and success, Dube remained humble and committed to his beliefs.

He was deeply devoted to his Rastafarian faith and saw it as a path to personal and societal transformation.

He lived his life in accordance with the principles of peace, love, and unity, and he saw music as a powerful tool for social and spiritual upliftment.

Tragically, on October 18, 2007, Lucky Dube was murdered in Rosettenville, Johannesburg.

The news of his death shook the music world and sent shockwaves through South Africa and beyond.

His passing was a great loss to the music community, and his legacy continues to inspire and uplift people today.

Lucky Dube’s music and message remain as relevant as ever, reminding us of the power of music to heal, inspire, and bring about positive change.

His music continues to touch the hearts and souls of people worldwide, making him a true legend of South African music and an inspiration to generations of musicians and fans alike.


Lucky Philip Dube, a legendary reggae artist, was born on August 3, 1964, in Ermelo, which is now located in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Before he was born, his mother had suffered a series of miscarriages, and she named him “Lucky” to signify his birth’s good fortune.

Dube’s parents separated before his birth, and he was raised by his mother’s mother, Sarah, along with his two siblings, Thandi and Mandla, because his mother had to work to support them.

Growing up in a modest household, Dube faced financial difficulties and had to work to help support his family.

He started working as a gardener, but he soon realized that it wasn’t enough to sustain his family’s needs.

Dube’s determination to create a better life for himself and his family led him to enroll in school, where he joined a choir and discovered his love for music.

Along with some of his friends, Dube formed his first musical group, The Skyway Band, which was a stepping stone to his illustrious career in the music industry.

Dube’s early experiences of working to support his family, coupled with his exposure to music, played a significant role in shaping his artistic vision.

He used his music as a vehicle for change and activism, addressing social and political issues such as the struggle against apartheid, police brutality, and poverty.

His music resonated with people from all walks of life, and he became an inspiration to many in South Africa and beyond.

Despite his untimely death in 2007, Dube’s legacy continues to inspire generations of musicians and fans worldwide.

His music remains a testament to his passion for social justice and his commitment to using his platform to make a positive impact on the world.

Lucky Dube’s musical career started early, as he formed his first band, The Skyway Band, while still attending school.

Later, he joined his cousin’s band, The Love Brothers, where he played mbaqanga music, a popular Zulu pop genre.

At the same time, he worked as a security guard for a car auction company, Hole and Cooke, in Midrand.

Dube’s breakthrough came when The Love Brothers signed with Teal Record Company and recorded their album, which was eventually released under Lucky Dube and the Supersoul.

After releasing several albums, Dube’s sound engineer suggested he drop the Supersoul part of the band’s name, and from then on, his music was released under the name Lucky Dube.

While performing live, Dube noticed the audience’s positive response to the reggae songs he played, and he felt a connection to the socio-political messages in the genre, particularly those addressing Jamaica’s struggles with racism and colonialism.

In 1984, Dube released a mini-album, Rastas Never Die, in the reggae style, but it was banned by the apartheid regime due to its critical lyrics.

However, this did not deter Dube, and he continued to perform and release reggae music, which ultimately led to his breakthrough with the album Think About The Children.

Dube’s music, with its themes of apartheid and internal displacement in South Africa, became a powerful tool for him to express his feelings about slavery and colonialism in Africa.

Through his music, he promoted racial equality and called for the abolishment of the apartheid system in South Africa.

His efforts did not go unnoticed, and he received numerous accolades, including the “Best Selling African Recording Artist” at the World Music Awards and the “International Artist of the Year” at the Ghana Music Awards.

Apart from his successful music career, Dube had a brief stint in acting and appeared in films such as Voice in the Dark, Getting Lucky, and Lucky Strikes Back.

He continued to tour internationally, sharing the stage with music icons such as Sinéad O’Connor, Peter Gabriel, and Sting.

Also read: History and Legacy of Brenda Fassie, the Phenomenal South African Music icon

Lucky Dube Songs

Lucky Dube was known for numerous hit songs that still resonate today. Here’s his discography:

  • Rastas Never Dies
  • Think About The Children
  • Slave (1989)
  • Prisoner (1990)
  • Together as one (1992)
  • House of exile (1992)
  • Captured Live (1993)
  • Victims (1993)
  • Trinity (1995)
  • Serious reggae business (1996)
  • Taxman (1997)
  • The Way It Is (1999)
  • The Rough Guide To Lucky Dube (2001)
  • Soul Taker (2001)
  • The other side (2005)
  • Respect (2006)


1989 – won four OKTV Awards for Prisoner.

1990 – won one OKTV Award for Captured Live.

1991 – won two OKTV Awards for House of Exile.

1996 – named “Best Selling African Recording Artist” at the World Music Awards.

1996 – named “International Artist of the Year” at the Ghana Music Awards.


Lucky Dube’s legacy is one that transcends borders and cultures.

He was a pioneer in bringing the reggae genre to mainstream African music, while also bridging the gap between different cultures within the African diaspora.

Through his music, Lucky Dube gave Africa a voice and put its culture on the global stage, joining the international reggae community.

His music was not only a form of entertainment but a tool for political activism, exposing the oppression and political struggles of black South Africans to the world.

Dube’s roots in reggae music show how Africans could adopt and integrate elements of the black diaspora while still retaining their authenticity.

Dube’s impact can be seen in the global recognition of his music.

In 2008, Rykodisc released a compilation album titled Retrospective in the United States, featuring some of Dube’s hit songs in celebration of his contributions to abolishing the apartheid system in South Africa.

Moreover, Lucky Dube’s music has been celebrated by communities beyond his home country.

In Australia, for example, his music was particularly popular among the Aboriginal communities, and his 2005 tour was a resounding success.

Many Aboriginal fans dubbed him “bigger than the Beatles,” a testament to the enduring legacy of his music.


In conclusion, Lucky Dube’s life and career exemplified the power of music to bring people together and promote social change.

Despite facing adversity and challenges in his personal and professional life, he persevered and became a celebrated artist who left a lasting impact on the music industry and beyond.

Through his music, Lucky Dube spoke out against oppression, racism, and injustice, shining a light on the struggles of black South Africans during apartheid.

He was one of the first African artists to bring reggae music to the mainstream and used his platform to bridge cultural gaps within the African diaspora.

Dube’s legacy continues to inspire people around the world, especially in Africa, where he is remembered as a cultural icon and a pioneer of reggae music.

His music continues to be popular among various communities and generations, and his message of love, unity, and social justice remains as relevant today as it was during his lifetime.

Moreover, Dube’s life story is a testament to the resilience and creativity of the human spirit.

Despite his humble beginnings and numerous setbacks, he was able to rise to international fame and touch the hearts of millions of people worldwide.

His music is a reminder that anyone can make a difference, no matter their background or circumstances.

In recognition of his contributions to the music industry and his role in promoting social justice, Lucky Dube has received numerous awards and accolades.

His music has been celebrated and recognized by various organizations, including the South African Music Awards, the World Music Awards, and the Ghana Music Awards.

In summary, Lucky Dube’s life and music continue to inspire and uplift people across the globe, and his message of hope and unity will remain relevant for generations to come.

He truly was a music legend and a cultural icon whose legacy will continue to live on.


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