Friday, October 19, 2007

Not -so - Lucky Dube

As most of us use our blogs as personal spaces in which we reflect our interests, pre-occupations, philosophies and lives, it is not altogether surprising that crime rears its ugly head quite often in my blog. (Not by choice really, just by default, because it is such an integral part of life in South Africa.)

Well today all the radios and television are paying tribute to Reggae musician Lucky Dube, who was murdered in Johannesburg last night, in front of his children, in a botched car hi-jacking.
It is a tragic waste of yet another life, in this case a famous and talented one. It is going to mean devastation, and trauma for his loved ones, and sadness for his many fans. There is a sense of national outrage about the incident.
To quote from a report posted 2 hours ago by AFP
"President Thabo Mbeki was among those who paid tribute to Dube, calling him "a really great South African artist", while his killing reignited debate about the levels of crime in the country.
The award-winning artist, who recorded more than 20 albums in a career spanning two decades, was gunned down at close range on Thursday night as he dropped his young son off at a relative's home in the suburb of Rosettenville. The child had just got out of the car when unknown men approached him, trying to hijack the vehicle. He was shot and he died on the scene.....
Fellow musician Mzwakhe Mbuli, one of the first people on the scene, said the music industry has been robbed of a legend. "I am devastated ... out of words," Mbuli told AFP. "For me it's cold-blooded murder, until investigation proves me otherwise. Crime is out of control. Where is this country heading to? We really need divine intervention," he said.........
South Africa is one of the world's most crime-ridden countries, with nearly 20,000 murders recorded in the last year.
Dube's killing was widely condemned by politicians and prompted calls in some quarters for the restoration of the death penalty. "
Our regional radio station played one of his songs this morning, with very apt and ironical words........

it is called TAXMAN,
"I pay my gardener
To clean up my garden
I pay my doctor
To check out da other ting
I pay my lawyer
To fight for my rights
And I pay my bodyguard
To guard my body
There' s only one man I pay
But I don' t know what I' m paying for
I' m talking about the taxman x3
Chorus: (x4)
What have you done for me lately
Mr taxman
You take from the rich
Take from the poor
You even take from me
Can' t understand it now
I pay for the police
To err..I don' t know why
'Cause if my dollar was good enough
There wouldn' t be so much crime
In the streets
They tell me you' re a fat man
And you always take and
Never give"
Good question, Lucky, and prophetic too, in the end, what has the taxman (and the civil servants who are paid from your taxes) done for you?
But I must admit, sad as this is, I am wondering, why is there such a song and dance when this sort of random violence hits a celebrity, but we never get to hear about 99% of the similar incidents that are going on here daily. Mothers of young children, businessmen, students, pensioners, all die just as needlessly, but disappear into history quietly, leaving behind their grieving families. And the government remains mute, and the courts continue to let rapists, murderers and armed robbers out on bail, and take years to bring them to justice (if ever.) And the most we ever get to hear about it is when they are reduced to statistics. (Just one of the 20,000 mentioned in the report...)

If it takes the death of a celebrity to make them sit up and take notice, well I suppose something good can come out of it, but it is a sad indictment on the powers that be in this country, and how little value they place on the average human life.


Max-e said...

Yes, another tragic loss of life to be added to the statistics, to which the politicians and civil servants point and say, "Not too bad, it's come down a percent". That dehumanises the crime and ignores the pain and suffering of the families.
It's time for all good South Africans to take a stand against this scourge.
Our sympathy to the Dube family.

Kate said...

What a waste! Johannesburg somehow has to come to terms with its myriad problems of poverty, unemployment, and crime.

Sheila said...

This is so sad. A life is a life, whether they are famous or not.
I hope the perpetrators are punished appropriately and not back on the street in a few years.