South African reggae superstar Lucky Dube visited the Virgin Islands in 2007, performing for the seventh BVI Music Fest.
It was to be one of his last concerts.
I had just moved to Tortola to work for a local newspaper, and lived in Cane Garden Bay. The beach where Dube played was usually pretty quiet, but this festival attracted fans from all over the Caribbean and it was so crowded we could barely see the stage.
My friend and neighbor, who was also from South Africa and wearing his country's flag like a cape, tried to get as close as we could by inching our way through the crowd. Even knee deep in the ocean, we could only hear that steady reggae rhythm pulsing through the humid tropical air.
We had a great time anyway, and I wasn't too disappointed because I didn't know all that much about Dube.
When he was killed later that year on October 18th, 2007 in a carjacking attempt in his home country— it sparked a lot of research into his life and music.
He soon became one of my favorite reggae artists.
My time on Tortola was fairly short, because at the close of the Bush administration I really felt like I needed to be in the United States to work on the 2008 election. At the time I didn't have a plan, I just knew I needed to be involved.
Back then, before the Netflix era, bootleg sellers of DVDs were very common. Literally they are pirates of the Caribbean, and that always amused me. The sellers' summaries of the films were often passionate and entertaining, so I'd hail 'em up even if I wasn't 100% ready to buy.
When one seller at Myett's Bar said he had a copy of the Cane Garden Bay Lucky Dube concert, I knew I had to have it, even though I expected a shaky handycam version with bad sound. Little did I know it would be this much of a professional shoot (by who I don't know and couldn't find out).
I hope you enjoy this as much as I have over the years, and from it can get a feel for the healing, redemptive message of Lucky Dube. I encourage you to explore his unique and powerful music; he is of the reggae / Rasta culture, but has his own beliefs too.
We cannot forget the past, but if there is one lesson I've learned from Rastafari and His followers, it is this: we must break the cycle of hate with love, and that love is the only path that will allow us to reach the equality and kinship of all humankind.