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Thousands at Lucky Dube funeral


PEACEFUL: Mourners carry a portrait of Lucky Dube at his burial



THOUSANDS of fans bade an emotional farewell on Sunday to South Africa's top reggae star Lucky Dube, whose murder in an apparent botched carjacking stunned even a nation hardened to violent crime.

Rastafarians and members of the African Shembe Christian church to which Dube belonged were prominent in the crowds who thronged to his rural home for his funeral.

Local musicians and fans from across Africa sang hymns and paid tribute to South Africa's biggest-selling reggae singer and one of the country's most successful artistes.

Top South African singers Mzwakhe Mbuli, iHash’ Elimhlophe, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mercy Pakela, Thokozani Langa and Ntando Bangani were in attendance.

His wife Zanele and children broke down in tears as one of Dube's best-known songs played over the loudspeaker at the public ceremony on his farm near the remote village of Ingogo, about 250 km (160 miles) southeast of Johannesburg.

The internationally acclaimed singer, who recorded 22 albums in English, Zulu and Afrikaans and won more than 20 awards in a 25-year entertainment career, was then buried in his garden in a private family ceremony.

The 43-year-old was shot dead in front of his children in a Johannesburg suburb on October 18. Five men have been arrested, four of them directly linked to the murder, according to police.

The high-profile killing prompted new calls for a crackdown on violent crime in South Africa, which has one of the highest crime rates in the world.

Police figures show there were nearly 20,000 murders in the year to the end of March, 2.4 percent up on the year before. The number of rapes, carjackings and assaults also remained high. - Reuters/Staff Reporter
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