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Reggae Star Lucky Dube to Be Buried Sunday in Private Ceremony


South African Reggae star Lucky Dube is to be buried Sunday in a private family ceremony. Fans, however, have already paid an emotional tribute to the singer, who was shot to death a week ago in an attempted car jacking. VOA Correspondent Scott Bobb reports from Johannesburg.

The public was not invited to the funeral of the late Reggae star Lucky Dube, but nearly 2,000 friends and fans gathered at a music hall in Soweto Wednesday for a memorial service.

Band members, weeping openly as they performed without their star lead singer, sang, 'nobody can stop reggae.'

Two of Dube's daughters delivered an emotional eulogy. Daughter Laura said she would never forget him.

"Thugs have robbed us of our icon," she said. "We are going to miss you always."

Tributes were read by the presidents of Senegal and The Gambia, and from musicians from around the world.

The head of Dube's Gallo Music recording label, Ivor Haarburger, said the nation was shocked and saddened to hear of Dube's murder.

"It is a senseless disturbing act," he said. "A great spirit has been taken from us. It is a loss felt by millions of people, millions and millions of people around the world."

South Africa has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world.

Members of the Creative Workers Union staged a march to the offices of the provincial government. Union Secretary-General Oupa Lebogo delivered a note protesting attacks against Dube and several other prominent musicians in recent years.

"Some of the cases that are still pending of artists being killed and maimed by these ruthless killers, what is happening with that issue? We are also saying that we must reach out to the community, because, without the community, we cannot win this war," he said.

Lucky Dube was gunned down September 18 as he dropped two of his children off at a relative's house south of Johannesburg.

Three days later police arrested five suspects. Four of them are to appear in court this week on charges of murder, attempted hijacking and possession of an unlicensed weapon.

Police say they were part of a carjacking ring, and authorities expect to make more arrests.

Lucky Dube was one of South Africa's best known musicians internationally, and the first South African artist to sign with the Motown record label in the United States.

The 43-year-old singer began his 25-year-long career singing urbanized adaptations of traditional Zulu music. But, he also recorded albums in the Afrikaans language of the white minority.

He made his mark internationally singing Reggae music, often with a social message condemning injustice and oppression, and praising peace and love.