Lucky Dube killers sentenced to life in prison

Lucky Dube, South African reggae singerLucky Dube‘s 3 killers were sentenced to life in prison today in the Johannesburg High Court, after busy week that included a failed escape attempt and a guilty verdict in the South African reggae musician’s murder case.

Sifiso Mhlanga, Mbuti Mabe, and Julius Ngxowa, the gunmen who killed internationally-acclaimed reggae star Lucky Dube during a failed carjacking on October 18, 2007 will live out their days in prison: they were also sentenced to an additional 15 years in prison for attempting to steal Lucky Dube’s car, 18 years for stealing the car used to escape the murder scene, and 18 years for carjacking another person 2 days after Dube’s murder. They received additional prison sentences for possessing guns and ammunition.

South African high court Judge Seun Moshidi said “The accused showed no mercy for the deceased,” as the sentences were delivered. “It is difficult for the court to extend any mercy today.”

The South African Press Association reported that Lucky Dube’s relatives applauded as the verdicts were read, while Zanele Dube, Lucky Dube’s wife, cried uncontrollably. The later said “The sentence won’t heal me, but we are happy they were arrested and that the law took its course,” according to IOL.

Band members and friends of the deceased reggae musician waited outside the court with signs reading “These devils, these criminals and hooligans, do not belong to the civilised society. What a waste of life,” and “These devils have killed the reggae king.”

Tonique Thala, one of Lucky Dube’s backup singers, said “I don’t think we will ever recover from this. But we are happy that justice has been done.”

The band members also promised to keep Lucky Dube’s memory alive by continuing his work. Thuthukani Cele, Dube’s reggae keyboardist, said “we have to continue with a message of peace, love and unity. I feel it’s part of my responsibility as a band member to honour his legacy by carrying on with his work.”

The courthouse security was under increased alert after Mabe and Mlanga attempted to escape on Tuesday morning after hitting a South African police officer in the face with a brick. They appeared in court later that day, their heads wrapped in bandages bloodied from wounds suffered when the SAPA guards foiled their escape attempt. The 2 men now face additional charges for assault and attempting to escape police custody.

Lucky Dube sings life reggae musicThe gunmen shot Lucky Dube at close range, killing him while he was dropping his teenage son Thokozani Dube off at a relative’s house. He died at age 43, an abrupt end to a career that began as the first South African reggae star and included Zulu, English, and Afrikaans recordings. His career spanned more than 20 albums, 20 years, and over 20 local and international awards. As his fame grew from the release of his 1984 debut Rastas Never Die, which was banned by South Africa’s apartheid government, he went on to performa alongside Sinead O’Connor, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Ziggy Marley, and Sting. Dube is widely considered to be the first, and greatest, reggae music artist in South African history.

Domestic activists were so outraged by Lucky Dube’s murder that it renewed political debate over the possible restoration of the death penalty for murder, a symptom of South Africa’s high crime rate.

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Chris "Dubman" Keane has been created the Dub & Reggae website in 2007 to learn about the dub and reggae music scene. He shares information and updates about dub, reggae, dancehall, ska, and reggaeton artists, concerts, news, and events as often as possible on this site.

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38 Responses to Lucky Dube killers sentenced to life in prison

  1. mitu njukumnan shadrach says:

    the killers are to be dead by hanggin not to be sentence for life in prisonment.they have cheated us forever and dube spirit will never forgive them. i will never forget about lucky dube.may his soul rest in peace

  2. Asante Nicholas says:

    i will like to talk about those who kill lucky dube i think the court should allowed the army force to kill them alive in order to reduce the pains within me thank you



  4. Vusumuzi Masuku says:

    reintroduce death penalty, if we can have it in Zimbabwe why not you guys in South? who will be paying for their upkeep in prison till they die?

  5. semy udofia says:

    i loved lucy dube so much how i wish the are also dead to advance the singers dead

  6. Benard says:

    I will never forget Lucky Dube in my life. His music gives one hope in life even when you are down to nothing. I always listen carefully to Lucky’s music and get the massage right for hope in life. His music to me is like a strong life massage. I have been his fun since 1989 when still in primary 5. His death/killing really shocked me and I ended up crying as if he was a really blood brother to me. I actually recieved Lucky Dube at Entebbe International Airport When he last came to Uganda at AirCraft stand. 3 weeks before his death date, my lovely mother also died and there fore the whole week has been a real sade momment to me in my life. I will always remember.

  7. Xolisile Alfred Cawe says:

    Life sentence is not enough for guys like these..They killed Lucky, more sadly, in front of his kids.They really deserve to be killed..

  8. me says:

    After 3 years we still think of you love you lucky dube

  9. Francis says:

    I always love lucky dube, his way of sing ragga music make me to know that ROCK can as RAGGE. Well the did has be don (2007) but he lives forever in my mind just as he flash on my mind tonigth.

  10. Marco says:

    You are a hero!

    He made me a better person. Missed forever.

  11. Xoli Dube says:

    You’re greatly missd baba,u made such a huge impact in everyones life.Its only been 3 yet it feels like a lifetime…

  12. Dagizuwa says:

    being the king and master of regae of our time,we love him but the maker love him the most king of regae u are always remembered.

  13. joann scott says:

    its been 3 years but it was like yesterday since we lost Lucky Dube, so sad. But Im actually glad they got life instead of death, in death its over for them, they would be out of their misery if they died but surely if they are alive and in prison, they are in a living hell especially if others in their know who they killed and love him as much as the rest of us

  14. stanley john says:



    Life imprisonment will never a be enough 4 such predators ..”kill them in parts”

  16. jefry ouma says:

    ”welcome you inmates.tell us your names and the charges against you.we killed dube.stupid idiots here we dance and listen to ”house of exile,am prisoner and the likes done by him as our songs of gona be hell to u people”l wish l was in with them in the prison,i would kill them and serve their team plus mine.they killed my mentor and like afather to in peace

  17. nomsa says:

    thy must be hanging in life n be killed d way thy killed lucky im so hurt i will neva forgive them

  18. lynnpatrique says:

    Lucky is my mentor and i started listening to his music when i was in primary school 1989.Up till now his music has been a source of inspiration to me.I’m so much in love with all his track.When i heard the track RESPECT I made up my mind to meet him in person.I traveled to inform my parents about my intended mission when my brother in south Africa called me up to tell me that my favorite singer is been shot dead.The first question i asked was who killed him.Those people should count themselves lucky that the govt got to them before me.Life jail is not the answer anything can happen.They are supposed to be buried alive and their grave cemented with Dangote cement.I love you Dube and will always do.May the good lord give his family the strength to carry on

  19. Kele De man says:

    They should be put inside a bag of pepper and be buried alive.

  20. Simasuccess says:

    Killers of Lucky Dube need to be killed immediately not sentencing them to life in prisonment. Why are they kept? They need not to see the light of the day for any reason.

  21. Ilse Henningsen says:

    Lucky whas and is my hero i will never forget him and his music.deep respect for this men

  22. ALBERT MIRING'U says:

    Oh Lucky Dube, you died too soon my brother.Those who killed you, I think they deserved a death sentence to pay for your tragic death.I liked your music very much.When i listen to the song Prisoner, I almost shed tears. It’s a really touching reggae music from you dear friend. My little sister also loves your song, Different colours, One People which she sings along with you.I love you so much Lucky Dube. You still remain in my heart forever. Though physically gone, your spirit and your beautiful reggae music is still alive.RIP Sir Lucky Dube.

  23. eddy balera says:

    thou you are gone your music still lives here with as. you are only gone physically but spiritually you still communicate to me .

  24. Jopper says:

    You men of the underworld. That,s all you can do.Look, i,ll not like to hear that these men by any means were released in this planet earth. Idiots .

  25. Karan says:

    Like what so many has said its been three years that I lost the two most wonderful people in my life. Lucky and my mother.I’m saying it like this cos I truely felt like I knew him. In away we all did through that unbeliveable music.He’s a true inspiration and has change the person I am I asked my self every day why?Gone but never be 4gotton luv you always Karan.RIP The king of reggae.Lets bring some peace to this planet.


    precisely everyone know that he that kill by gun will surely go by guy.the judge that cast the judgement that day in court is wrong. that is what i do called miscarriage of justices.

  27. joshua philemon says:

    when d news came 2 me, i fell 2 d ground bcs of pains, whata preacher of true message of peace.i leave vengeance in d hand of GOD, HE IS D TRUE JUDGE.

  28. kamuntu liz says:

    We will forever live to miss u but d memories still remain.Those who took ur life away should also b slain dats true justice.Just as my fav track frm u Crime n Corruption;thats Africa.
    Rest in eternal peace!

  29. Geolleks says:

    Lucky dube was a man of honour,i love him so much.i love his songs,music and his video especialy the track ‘the way it is’.For those who killed this hero,i think they should be killed by hanging instead of life inprisonment..Lucky dube,may ur soul rest in peace.

  30. Mulume MTB says:

    RIP Lucky Dube, you were what Africa needed in terms of Music, Who Knows the World could have Used too, But as they Say in Language, Good people Never Last.And the Fact that you never lasted proves you were a Good Man. The world would not give you a chance… So sad

  31. Ujunwa says:

    oh my lovng brother,what hve u dne to all dis tout who cal themselves a killer.i was shocked wn i heared ur sudden death.R.I.P.

  32. victor says:

    i wonder what South Africa would have looked like: hosting the World Cup with u around.I’d rather say keep on living brother

  33. MUSO MULUMBA says:


  34. sandra jenkins says:

    Ilove listening to his song especially the one he sang about rich and poor people. HIS killers will rust in hell starting from here. no peace for the wicked. Theu cut his life shout but God will give him eternal life. This is our only comfort.

  35. ras leo says:

    lucky lucky lucky,don`t worry they are slowly dying in prison,it also eats inside them.its judgment to them from god.

  36. kemoh d koroma says:

    we are in an animal farm, where some are more equal than the others

  37. Leonard mabuda says:

    They kl Lucky dube nw that pple they supposed to be buried alive.

  38. coillard says:

    six years down th line,i stil cry like he personally knew me,like he oz my rlativ.lovd dube so vry much.i jokingly used to refer him as my can wonder if thoz killers are really humans.great reggae maestro! wat aloss! thoz animals were really wrong on this one.RIP great son of Africa

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