In praise of Lucky Dube

It's a grief.

It's a grief.

A dark cloud covers the rainbow state.

The mighty drum has been punched,

The house of music has fallen,

The pillar of music has been uprooted,

The cream has melted,

The nest of music has been blown off,

By the wicked eagle,

That grabbed the life of a brave warrior.

Africa's tears have swamped the motherland.

The frost has befallen men and women alike.

Year 2007, Joburg:

The warrior's tears sipped

Lucky Dube the wellknown minstrel. Gone!

He has crossed a crippled river,

The minstrel Reggae skull-smashed!

A nation in bankruptcy,

Stops for a while,

As he follows Bob Marley, Peter Tosh,

And all other Reggae greats and martyrs.

The wizards flushed out the trumpet of South Africa.

If they are not witches,

They do hold the rod for witches.

Lucky Dube.

Who could kill him?

I don't remember Rastas dying!

They sing the world to a tremble

Lucky Dube.

Who could kill him?

A spear that set upon apartheid,

Hitting the target,

While serving the nation,

With roots and herbs of the struggle.

Bang! bang!

A festering wound in the heart of the rainbow.

The thieves have stolen our gold:

Old cannibals grab in front of watching kids;

Nero-hearted witches of Babylon,

The termites once again have eaten our basket of music.

Lucky Dube.

Despised the slavery of Babylon,

He embraced and brought together the heart of the heritage.

Rest in peace bull of Azania,

The garden of Reggae music.

Ahoy, Rasta man!

l Titled Lucky Dube, this poem was written originally in Xitsonga by Bruce Mikhomazi Ngobeni of Tzaneen, Limpopo. He is among 43 writers honoured through the South African Literary Awards (Sala) in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

They are all featured in Sala's Band of Troubadours, which will be launched at Newtown, Johannesburg, tonight.

The first launch was held in Cape Town on June 15, the second in Grahamstown on July 4 and the third in Polokwane on July 19.