Dying superstar Lucky Dube made a desperate attempt to escape from hijackers who had shot him in front of his children last night.

Seconds after he had dropped his 16-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter at the gate of his brother's house in Rosettenville south of Johannesburg, three hijackers shot the 43-year-old singer at close range.

Dube drove off in his Chrysler, but could not control the car, and hit a parked Corsa and then mounted a pavement and crashed into a tree. By the time a witness reached him he was dead.

Dube was one of South Africa's best-known singers with millions of reggae fans here and abroad.




'We dived for cover as the gunshots continued'
Scores of tributes to the multi-award winning artist, including one from President Thabo Mbeki, poured in this morning.

Police said the teenagers, who were not hurt, had been too traumatised to provide them with any information.

Dube had just dropped them at the house at 8.20pm when the hijackers pounced.

An eyewitness, who was in the neighbourhood with his cousin to view a house, said he had heard gunshots and then saw a blue VW Polo speeding down the road.

"The driver and the passenger doors were open. The car sped down Valda Road and it slowed down a bit and another man jumped into the car and it turned right into Lang road.

'I went and peered through the window. The man was in a sitting position'
"We ran back into the house, switched off the lights because they were looking at us, we dived for cover as the gunshots continued."

The shaken man said that while they were hiding they heard another big bang. "We realised that my cousin's car (the Corsa) had been bumped.

"We could not see the car that had bumped it. Then we saw this flashy car (Dube's). It was still rolling. We ran behind it but we were very scared. We did not know if the hijackers were still lurking somewhere.

"It came to a halt after it hit the tree. I went and peered through the window. The man was in a sitting position, with his heard slumped. He was not moving," the witness said.

"We phoned the police and told them about the incident. Because it was too dark we could not see who it was. We only learnt when the paramedics arrived at the scene that he was dead."

This morning blood stains and shattered glass on the pavement bore testimony to the gruesome murder, as friends and relatives trickled into Dube's brother's house.

Dube, rose from obscurity to super-stardom in the 1980s when he changed from singing traditional mbaqanga music to Jamaican-born reggae sound.

He went on to perform all over Africa where he was more popular than he was at home and overseas.

The star also shared the stage with international musicians such as Peter Gabriel, Seal and Ziggy Marley.

This morning President Thabo Mbeki joined the nation in expressing shock at the murder which happened on the eve of the Springbok's Rugby World Cup final against England in Paris.

Expressing his sadness over Dube's murder, Mbeki said that because the Springboks are artists "their victory must be a tribute to Luck Dube".


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