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Devasted members of Lucky Dube's group reminisce about the icon

By unknown | Oct 25, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

As of Thursday night, Lucky Dube's band is in effect unemployed.

Comprising nine loyal artists who have worked for the king of reggae for a long time, the devastated members of the band gathered at the rehearsal room they have so casually walked in and out of for years as they sought counsel with Dube.

The gathering was to discuss arrangements for Dube's funeral, but most were probably thinking about their seemingly bleak future.

Crammed in the small office at the Downtown Studios in Johannesburg, nobody is sitting on the king's chair. Broken, the band discuss arrangements for the memorial service (held yesterdayat the Newtown Hall, Mega Music, in Johannesburg). The discussion is peppered with what Dube would have wanted.

Sowetan spoke to the band as they spent most of their time with the king of reggae. They are the unsung heroes who made the king. Without their canary voices, talent, skilled performances and understanding of his every move and nuance, the king would have been an ordinary reggae star.

Lead guitarist and band leader for 12 years, Skipper Shabalala said: "Dube was like a father and mentor who skillfully guided me through life. He taught me discipline, professionalism and humility, though he was younger than most of us.

"He opened gates for us. I always dreamt of going overseas, but he made that a reality for me. I have lost count of how many times I've flown and the destinations I covered. He enriched our lives. Our families survived because of him. It's hard to ima-gine life without him."

Keyboardist Thuthukani Cele, who has been with the band for 24 years, shook his head in a dazed manner.

"We are going to remember him as he was, a straight-forward individual who called a spade a spade. Somebody who shied away from controversy, preferring everything to be above board," said Cele.

Looking bleak and lost, drummer Andile Nqubezelo, who has invested eight years with Lucky, said: "He was a nurturer who skillfully steered me through some of life's serious turbulences. He was my guru when it came to cultural situations.

"It's a serious loss but his spirit is always going to be with us."

A speechless Richard Sekhobela, who is the band's keyboardist, worked with Dube for 19 years. "I don't know what to say. I feel cold. We loved Lucky, in turn he loved his band. I know that God will heal us in time but for now my heart is heavy."

Percussionist for 13 years with the band, Motlatsi Doods Molefi said: "What a gentleman! He was forever taking time to ask about our wives and kids. An extremely focused man who wanted us to have homes, hence his looking after us and continuous striving to ensure we looked after, and improved, ourselves."

Bass guitarist Toto Isaac Molantoa, aka TO, has been with the band for 12 years.

"He was like a father and a teacher. He taught us a lot about life, and that's the legacy of caring he's leaving in the band. He was a valued friend. I will miss him dearly," he said, choking back the tears that were threatening to spill unchecked.

The reggae star is survived by his wife Zanele, seven kids Sibongile, Thokozani, Nonku-luleko, Laura, Siyanda, Thulani and Melokuhle.


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