Afro Pop

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Founder Joseph Shabalala Dies

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Founder Joseph Shabalala Dies – Joseph Shabalala, the founder of multiple Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has died at the age of 78.

The news was confirmed on Tuesday morning by the group’s manager Xolani Majozi.

We will never forget what he started, Founded by Joseph Shabalala during the 1960s, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a Grammy-winning choral group from South Africa. Specializing in isicathamiya, a harmony-focused Zulu style of a cappella and offshoot of mbube, they became known to pop audiences around the world when Paul Simon featured them on his 1986 album, Graceland. After joining Simon on his 1987 Graceland tour, they became regular headliners on the international touring circuit.

The group went on to win five Grammys, and dedicated their fifth Grammy to the late former President Nelson Mandela.

Majozi said Shabalala was with his wife Thokozile Shabalala, during his last moments. “Yes it’s true. Mr Shabalala passed on this morning. The group (Ladysmith Black Mambazo) is on tour in the US, but they have been informed and are devastated because the group is family”, he told TshisaLIVE.

According to various reports, Shabalala died in an unnamed Pretoria hospital.

Born on August 28, 1941, in Ladysmith, Shabalala was first thrust into the limelight when he was spotted by well-known group, the Durban Choir, after he delighted audiences with his smooth guitar playing and soprano voice. 

The family will release an official statement later in the day.

In the meantime, fans took to social media to mourn the death of the musician.

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