The death of ubaba Joseph Shabalala, the founder of Grammy award winning Isicathamiya group, shakes the world

He sat stages alight worldwide and in mzansi was revered.

Yes, the sad news of the passing away of ubaba Joseph Shabalala, has been received with mixed reactions though many believe he should be celebrated rather than mourn.

The internationally acclaimed Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder, educator, family member and community builder is no more.

He met his untimely death after lengthy illness today at a Pretoria Hospital, following the transfer from his hometown in KwaZulu-Natal last year.

In 2014 Dr Shabalala took a seat back from the group due to age and illness but was involved one way or the other.

His family group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo which he started in the early 1960s after finding interest in ‘Isicathamiya’ harmonies is the first South African musical group to win multiple Grammys.

Their first Grammy award came from their first worldwide release, “Shaka Zulu”, which dropped in 1988.

It recorded with numerous artists such as Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge and many others. 

My meeting with ubaba Shabalala and the group was during the reed dance in KZN moons ago, that was also graced by the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, amongst other dignitaries.

Astound and regaled, I became to learn more about the iSisulu culture.

After 50 years in the music industry- the show goes on as ubaba Shabalala’s sons continue to carry the baton.

Its no coincidence it was Dr Nelson Mandela’s all time fav.

The SA Government, ordinary folks and other arts and culture entities had send their message of condolences to the family.

Born Bhekizizwe Joseph Siphatimandla Mxoveni Mshengu Bigboy Shabalala, he was 78.

True ubaba Shabalala ‘introduced us to the world’.

Image (Globetrotter of note Dr Joseph Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mamabzo sharing the stage with Paul Simon, is no more).

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday said the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison 30 years ago was the day the world knew apartheid was over.

The former president was released from the Victor Verster Prison after spending 27 years behind bars.

Ramaphosa’s remarks came as the country commemorated 30 years since Mandela returned home and made his first address at the City Hall in Cape Town.

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