'Actions of assailants switched off the light'

Understandably emotional, Tonique Phala, who heads Dube's backing singers and has worked with him for the past 15 years, said she had lost a member of her family.

Understandably emotional, Tonique Phala, who heads Dube's backing singers and has worked with him for the past 15 years, said she had lost a member of her family.

"Lucky was a master at counselling us. Lately, whenever we had a minute, he would talk about God, encouraging the band to have a relationship with Him," she said.

Phala remembered how on their last tour of the US, Dube asked the band whether they ever prayed before going to venues where they were performing.

Another backing singer, Thandi Radebe, said that only God knows why this happened. "It's a lifetime shock. How does such a gentle soul go like this? He did not even owe anybody a cent. Instead, he surprised the band with incentives on tour.

"The assailants have switched off the light, not only for us but for the world," said Radebe, who has worked with Dube for the past 14 years.

"He treated us well, taught us respect and never short-changed us. He made sure we slept at the best hotels. When he could have driven in style, he opted to travel in the same bus as the band and insisted on staying at the same hotels. In our band, we were kings and queens. It could be over for us but I would like to believe that God will provide," Radebe said.

Backing singer Gabisile Mdluli said: "I'm not sure where to start, but there's a lot I can say about Lucky in the four years I have worked with him. He touched our lives in a profound way. Today we are respected, thanks to his generosity. He was extremely disciplined. He never entertained sloppiness, as a result we are punctual. We enjoyed his jokes and admired his humility."

His trusted engineer for 23 years, Dave Segal, said Dube's death was a loss.

"He was more than a good friend.

"He was a reluctant star who more than anything loved to be on his farm with his wife and children."

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