Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 12:00 UK

Trio get life for Dube's killing

Lucky Dube (Photo: July 2005)
Lucky Dube recorded more than 20 albums in his career

A South African judge has sentenced three men to life in prison for killing reggae star Lucky Dube in 2007.

The 43-year-old was shot as the three stole his car in a Johannesburg suburb in a case which shocked the nation.

Family members broke down in tears, cheered and applauded in response, the South Africa Press Association reports.

"The sentence won't heal me, but we are happy they were arrested and that the law took its course," his wife Zanele Dube said afterwards.

The BBC's Mpho Lakaje outside the South Gauteng High Court says musicians and fans gathered outside to show their support.

I don't think we will ever recover from this. But we are happy that justice has been done
Backing singer Tonique Thala

The court had heard that the three men thought their victim was Nigerian and did not realise his identity until they read about it in the newspapers the following day.

Our reporter says one of the banners outside court read: "Lucky Dube did not look like a Nigerian; he's an African."

According to Sapa, the court also sentenced Sifiso Mhlanga, Julius Gxowa, and Mbuti Mabe to 15 years each for the attempted robbery of Dube's car.

Murder alarm

One of Dube's backing vocalists said there was a sense of relief that the trial was over.

"I don't think we will ever recover from this. But we are happy that justice has been done," Tonique Thala said.

South Africa's best-selling reggae artist, Dube recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English and Afrikaans during his 25-year career.

The killing had led to renewed domestic calls for the restoration of the death penalty in a bid to stem one of the world's highest murder rates.

Our reporter says South Africa's international image has been tarnished by its alarming crime levels.

Nearly 19,000 people were murdered last year, according to official statistics.

Millions of visitors are expected for next year's football World Cup.



SEE ALSO
Lucky Dube pair 'try to escape'
31 Mar 09 |  Africa
Lucky Dube: Your reaction
19 Oct 07 |  Have Your Say
Country profile: South Africa
05 Mar 09 |  Country profiles

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