Joseph Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder, dies aged 78

Brenda Watkins
February 12, 2020

The founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Pretoria.

The legendary iscathamiya singer's death was confirmed by the manager of Ladysmith Black Mamabazo, Xolani Majozi.

As reported by Times Live, Joseph Shabalala spent his last moments with his wife beside him.

According to the group's schedule, they are to tour the United States until August with a three-month break from May to July.

"Bab' Shabalala was a legend of this lifetime, and it will take time to raise a person of his calibre".

Joseph Shabalala founded Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 1960, and the group gained global popularity especially after working with Paul Simon in his 1986 album Graceland.

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In conveying her condolences to the Shabalala family, KZN Legislature Speaker Nontembeko Boyce described Shabalala, 78, as one the country's greatest musical exports whose musical contributions had drawn the attention of the world to SA for close to six decades. He raised the standard of the iscathamiya and took to global stages where it excelled. They are now on tour in the U.S.

"The group (Ladysmith Black Mambazo) is on tour in the USA, but they have been informed and are devastated because the group is family", manager Xolani Majozi told local media outlet Timeslive.

The group has been informed and they are very sad.

Since its formation, the group has always been made up of several members of the Shabalala family and relatives.

Over the years, they also collaborated with Dolly Parton, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris and more; the group appeared in the Michael Jackson film Moonwalker.

Shabalala retired from active performance in 2014 shortly after performing at a memorial concert for Nelson Mandela. "The inspirational leadership and passion of Joseph Shabalala ensured that Ladysmith Black Mambazo filled the hearts of humanity with their joyfulness, sadness and poignancy - from the villages and towns of their origins in KwaZulu-Natal, to the far corners of the earth", he said.

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