Lucky Dube's Early Life:
Lucky Dube was born in Ermelo, a small town about 150 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 3, 1964. His mother had thought that she was unable to bear children, so when he arrived, "Lucky" seemed like the perfect name. He grew up in poverty, raised primarily by his grandmother while his mother sought work elsewhere.
Early Musical Career:
Lucky Dube first discovered his talent for music when he joined the choir at school. As a teenager, he and his friends experimented with borrowed instruments from the school band room, and formed an informal band called "Skyway", who performed mbaqanga music - pop music with heavy traditional Zulu influences. He continued to perform mbaqanga music for several years, even recording several albums with his band The Love Brothers.
In the early 1980s, Lucky Dube discovered artists like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, and began the switch from mbaqanga to reggae. Initially, Dube simply performed an occasional reggae song with the Love Brothers, and when he realized the reception that these songs got, he eventually began performing reggae almost exclusively.
Lucky Dube's Worldwide Success:
Despite his record label's misgivings, Lucky Dube began to record reggae. His second album, "Think About the Children" was an immediate hit. Apartheid-era Black South Africans could relate easily to the lyrical messages of Dube's reggae music, which gave voice to their struggles. International audiences enjoyed Dube's melodic and Afro-centric take on reggae, and he remained an international star until his death.
The Tragic Death of Lucky Dube:
On October 18, 2007, Lucky Dube was murdered in an attempted carjacking. This senseless incidence of random violence is, terrifyingly, not uncommon in South Africa, and brought an end to the life of one of the world's most talented and popular musicians. He was 43 years old and left behind his wife and their seven children.