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Murdered reggae legend mourned

  • Story Highlights
  • South African reggae legend Lucky Dube remembered at a memorial service
  • Lucky Dube, one of country's favorite musicians, killed by carjackers last week
  • Five men arrested Tuesday over the 43-year-old's murder
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- Reggae legend Lucky Dube was remembered Wednesday as a music icon whose death last week in a carjacking robbed South Africa of one of its brightest stars.

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Reggae star Lucky Dube was much loved by his fellow South Africans.

About a thousand people packed a memorial service for Dube held at Johannesburg's Bassline Jazz Club. Another thousand watched the service on large screens outside.

"It's a sad moment in my life," said one fan outside the music venue. "To many people, he inspired and uplifted their lives."

Dube, 43, was killed during a carjacking last Thursday as he dropped his children off at a relative's house.

He was one of South Africa's most famous musicians and had toured extensively around the world during a 25-year career. His sudden death shocked and saddened the country just as it was preparing to cheer on its rugby team at the World Cup final.

Police said Tuesday that five men had been arrested in the case.

"Today we are here to mourn, but we are also here to celebrate an icon," said Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse, a fellow South African musician who spoke during the service.

He said Dube was "someone who made us proud as South Africans through his music, his spirituality."

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Mabuse was one of a string of speakers -- including Dube's brother, Job Dube -- to pay their respects at the service. Written messages of condolence from musician Peter Gabriel and various African presidents were read aloud and Dube's former bandmates played two reggae songs.

A group from Dube's church sat on the floor at the front of the club and occasionally sang and danced.

South Africa is one of the most dangerous societies in the world. Figures from the South African Police Service show that from April 2006 to March 2007, more than 19,000 South Africans were murdered, more than 52,600 people were raped, and nearly 13,600 people were carjacked.

If there was any anger in the crowd, it wasn't apparent -- though one Rastafarian called for a return of the death penalty for the carjackers.

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Ivor Haarburger, the chief executive of Gallo Music Group, called Dube's death "senseless" and "disturbing."

"His great spirit has been taken from us. It is a loss felt by millions of people," he said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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