Today we commemorate the death of an African Reggae legend Lucky Dube, who died in 2007 in Johannesburg.
The musician was shot and killed during a hijack in the suburb of Rosettenville, in Johannesburg. Born in Ermelo on 3 August 1964, Dube surely ranks among the most popular artists in South Africa’s music history and his music, which touched on various social and political issues touched the hearts of many people.
With over 20 albums to his name, Dube is one of the continent’s most celebrated musicians. Check out our selection of five best songs from Africa’s King of Reggae.
Different Colours, One People
This song is off the album Victims (1993) and also appears on the album Serious Reggae Business (1996). The song is all about celebrating unity in diversity. South Africa has endured a long history of racial and tribal tensions and through this song Dube sought to spread the message of love and unity despite racial and ethnic differences. The song is a masterpiece, celebrating how racial barriers which were strengthened during Apartheid were finally broken. Dube aptly advices in the song: “Hey you government, never try to separate the people. Hey you politician, never try to separate the people”.
The way it is.
The song appears on the album The Way It Is (1999). The track is one of the African King of Reggae’s most critical song, an acerbic criticism of African politicians who make electoral promises but as soon as they get in office they forget the people who elected them. Dube couldn’t have sang it better and cautioned in the song, “Be good to the people on your Way up the ladder cause you’ ll need them on your way down”.
Together As One.
This title track is off the album released in 1988 and also appears on the album Captured Live (1990) and Serious Reggae Business (1996). The song strongly criticised the Apartheid regime, and advocated for unity, calling on all people to come together as one. The song includes the line and question: “Too many people hate apartheid, why do you like it”.
Prisoner is one of Dube’s best known tracks. The song is taken off the album Prisoner (1989), and also appears on the album Captured Live (1990) and Serious Reggae Business (1996). A poignant and powerful song, which touches on the theme of crime.
The song is from Dube’s third reggae album, and appears on the album Captured Live (1990) and Serious Reggae Business (1996). The song touches on the effects of alcohol abuse on the individual, and the family. On this song Dube took on the important role of imparting advice to his legion of fans on the effects of one of the country’s major problems. The song is undoubtedly one of Dube’s best works.