LUCKY PHILIP DUBE was born into a Zulu family at a farm on the outskirts of Ermelo, a small town some 90 miles west of Johannesburg. His father abandoned the family before he was born, but his mother named him Lucky because she was grateful for a son, particularly as her first-born had died in infancy. Dire poverty forced her to search for work in Johannesburg, leaving Lucky and his older sister Thandi with their grandmother, who raised them with cousins and local children. Food was often extremely scarce, with soup made from sheep's droppings sometimes the only form of sustenance. During his teens, Lucky Dube lodged with an alcoholic uncle in the town of Standerton and attended Jan Rell high school, where he led a popular vocal choir and attempted to form a band. In 1982, his aunt Eleni brought him to Madadeni, a township on the outskirts of Newcastle, where Dube joined the Love Brothers, a group performing in the urban mbqanga style that merged elements of soul and pop with traditional Zulu music. The group had been founded by Dube's cousin, Richard Siluma, who worked in Johannesburg for Teal Records, which ultimately became part of Gallo, South Africa's largest recording company. Siluma took on the role of manager and arranged the group's debut recordings, which were initially credited to Lucky Dube and the Supersoul. Luckydube performed mbqanga for the next few years, releasing five albums in the style, but a longstanding love of reggae and a fascination with the Rastafari lifestyle resulted in the four-song reggae EP, Rasta Never Die (1985). Although it was a critical failure - and drew ire from his record label for the change of direction - Dube persevered, releasing Think About the Children the following year, as well as a non-reggae Afrikaans satire entitled Help My Krap (which roughly translates as Help Me Scratch). The breakthrough came in 1987 with Slave, a hugely popular reggae album whose title track warned of the perils of alcoholism. It made Dube a household name in South Africa and sold 500,000 copies worldwide following a distribution deal with the New Jersey-based Shanachie Records. The 1989 set, Prisoner, reportedly gained double-platinum status in South Africa in less than a week, resulting in Dube's first live dates in Europe and the US. In 1991, he became the first South African artist to appear at Jamaica's #ReggaeSunsplash, his captivating performance resulting in a headline spot for the international segment of the following year's event. His 1993 album Victim was a million-seller and, two years later, Dube became the first South African to have an album handled by Motown. He last album was Respect, released in 2007. Dube's dreadlocks and espousal of Jah lent him the air of a Rastafarian, yet he was raised in the Zionist Christian Church, and did not consider himself a Rasta in the traditional sense, despite embracing aspects of the faith, such as vegetarianism. He was also a lifelong teetotaller who did not smoke either marijuana or cigarettes, making him something of an anomaly within the reggae world. Dube never let stardom go to his head, preferring to spend much of his time on his farm in KwaZulu-Natal. He is survived by his wife Zanele, their three-month old baby, Melokuhle, and his other children, Sibongile, Nonkululeko, Thokozani, Laura, Siyanda and Philani .