Thousands expected to attend funeral of Joseph Shabalala

The final preparations for the funeral of the late founder of Isicathamiya group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala are being wrapped up.

Shabalala died in a Pretoria hospital, last week Tuesday after a long illness. 

READ: Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala dies, condolences pour in 

His illustrious music journey - spanning over 40 years - saw him win numerous awards including five Grammy Awards. 

Shabalala's music was not only enjoyed for its unique sound but also for the messages it drove. 

He is survived by his wife, Thoko Shabalala and their six children Nkosinathi, Msizi, Thulani, Sbongiseni, Thami and Cindy. 

Since the passing of the global icon last week Tuesday, the public has been in celebration of his time and life in a number of pre-funeral activities. 

Three memorial services were held in Ladysmith, Durban and Johannesburg this week. 

READ: Music icon Joseph Shabalala remembered at memorial service 

Singer, Mbuso Khoza celebrates Joseph Shabalala’s life in song and dance @ECR_Newswatch 

The group's manager, Xolani Majozi, says they are expecting a large number of people to flock into Shabalala's hometown, Ladysmith, to pay their last respects. 

"We are expecting over 6 000 people, and there might be more as most people in Ladysmith are looking forward to paying tribute and bid farewell to him." 

He added that with a large pool of people expected, safety and security measures had been put in place. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Shabalala will be getting a special send-off tomorrow, 22 February 2020. 

In a statement, Ramaphosa declared a Special Official Funeral Category 2 in honour of Shabalala. He is expected to deliver the eulogy. 

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa among other dignitaries, members of the State, artists, friends and fans are expected to attend. 

Premier spokesperson Lennox Mabaso says they expect people from all spheres of life to be part of the final send-off. 

"We expect people from grassroot levels to high-class society, as he as was able to straddle all social status of humanity." 

Renowned music group, The Ndlovu Youth Choir have dedicated a heartfelt tribute to the late music giant. 

Ndlovu Youth Choir✔@ChoirAfrica 

Baba Joseph Shabalala we stand on your shoulders and your music will live forever. Lala ngoxolo Baba #JosephShabalala 

The Group's Conductor Ralf Schmitt says Shabalala's style of work will forever inspire him and his legacy will continue to live on. 

The funeral will be held at AG Magubane stadium in Ladysmith. 

Shabalala will be laid to rest at the Ladysmith Cemetery.

Funeral Services Across SA For Joseph Shabalala

JOHANNESBURG - South Africans across the country will get an opportunity to celebrate the life of the late Joseph Shabalala this week. 

The Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder died on Tuesday at the age of 78. 

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday 18 February at the Ladysmith Indoor Sports Centre from 11am. 

READ: Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala dies 

Durban fans will get a chance to pay their respects the following day, Wednesday, from 1pm. 

Johannesburg fans and artists will hold their service on Thursday. 

The official funeral service will be held on Saturday 22 February at the AG Magubane Stadium in Ladysmith.

Rescheduled Shows


Our shows Feb 20 in Los Angeles, Feb 21 in Santa Barbara & all shows in Berkeley Feb 22 & 23 are being changed to later dates. We are flying to South Africa Wednesday Feb 19 & will return to USA Feb 24. All concerts from then on will be as planned. The Los Angeles show will now be March 19, Santa Barbara is March 20 & Berkeley will be in August. We sincerely apologize for these changes. Thank you all for your continued support & beautiful uplifting messages. 
You truly keep us going.

Please keep checking back for further updates.

President declares Special Official Funeral for Mr. Joseph Shabalala

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a Special Official Funeral Category 2 in honour of Mr Joseph Shabalala, the late founder of choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. 

Mr. Shabalala, aged 78, passed away on 11 February 2020 following extended illness. 

The Special Official Funeral Category 2 entails ceremonial elements provided by the South African Police Service. The funeral will take place on Saturday, 22 February 2020. 

President Ramaphosa has ordered that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country until the evening of 22 February 2020. Regulations require that no other flags should be displayed when the National Flag is flown at half-mast. 

President Ramaphosa has reiterated his sincerest condolences to the Shabalala family, members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and members of the arts and culture fraternities in South Africa and globally with whom Ladysmith Black Mambazo has collaborated for the better part of six decades. 

In 2008, this world-renowned and widely awarded  choral group received the National Order of Ikhamanga for putting South African cultural life on the world map through contributing to the field of South African indigenous music.


South African government pays tribute to singer whose group gained worldwide fame after collaborating for Paul Simon’s Graceland 

Joseph Shabalala, the bandleader who brought the South African vocal harmony group Ladysmith Black Mambazo to global success, has died aged 78.  

Shabalala died in hospital in Pretoria and the news was confirmed by the group’s manager, Xolani Majozi. No cause of death has been announced.  

“Our Founder, our Teacher and most importantly, our Father left us today for eternal peace,” the choir said on social media. “We celebrate and honour your kind heart and your extraordinary life. Through your music and the millions who you came in contact with, you shall live forever.” South African president Cyril Ramaphosa called him a “veteran choral maestro”.  

Shabalala started singing as a teenager with the groups Durban Choir and the Highlanders, before forming Ezimnyama in 1959. He later christened it Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Ladysmith for his hometown, Black for the local livestock, and Mambazo, the Zulu word for axe, as a metaphor for the group’s sharpness.  

Their exquisitely harmonised a cappella songs in Zulu became hugely popular in South Africa after the release of their debut album in 1973. The group’s members would go on to convert to Christianity and bring religious music into their repertoire. 

They came to global attention after they collaborated with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland, co-writing the song Homeless – its melody based on a Zulu wedding song – and singing the backing to Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes. 

Over the years, they also collaborated with Dolly Parton, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris and more; the group appeared in the Michael Jackson film Moonwalker. In 1993, they accompanied Nelson Mandelato his Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo. Their theme for England’s 1995 Rugby World Cup campaign, a version of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, reached No 15 in the UK singles charts, and a 1998 best-of compilation album reached No 2.  

Shabalala retired from Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 2014; four of his sons perform in the current lineup. The group have been nominated for 17 Grammy awards, winning 5, most recently for best world music album in 2017. 

In 2002, Shabalala’s wife, Nellie, a church pastor who had her own group, Women of Mambazo, was shot and killed in Durban. Joseph was injured in the attack as he pursued the gunman. Mboneni Mdunge was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.  

The South African government shared its condolences to his family and paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing in Xhosa: “Ulale ngoxolo Tata ugqatso lwakho ulufezile” – “Rest in peace, father, your race is complete”. Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said Shabalala “will be remembered as a giant of South African music and a pioneer of the industry”.  

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party said in a statement that the group’s “music spoke to the social realities of black cultural norms and traditions, and was able to bring to light the social conditions of black South Africans”.

2017 Grammy Nominees

Two New Ladysmith Black Mambazo Albums 

Two GRAMMY Award Nominations! 

 On November 28, 2017 the GRAMMY Awards announced that Ladysmith Black Mambazo received GRAMMY Award nominations for their two 2017 albums. Songs of PEACE & LOVE for Kids & Parents Around the World has been nominated for Best Children's Album of 2017. Shaka Zulu Revisited has been nominated for Best World Music Album of 2017. 

It is with the deepest gratitude that the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo accept these nominations, which mark their 18th & 19th GRAMMY Award nominations during the past thirty years. Ladysmith Black Mambazo has won the GRAMMY Award four times: in 1988, 2004, 2009 and 2013. The group was most recently nominated for a GRAMMY Award in 2016, for the album Walking in the Footsteps of Our Fathers. 

Songs of PEACE & LOVE for Kids & Parents Around the World is a collection of songs with a message for parents, their children, and of course everyone else to share and enjoy during these trying times. Ladysmith Black Mambazo member Albert Mazibuko says “with this children's album, we want to share our songs of peace and love with the little ones. We want parents to have a collection of songs with a positive message to listen to with their kids. We know first hand how hard it is to raise children in a world of conflict, in a world where kids need positive role models and words of encouragement. We hope our songs can be an important part of the lessons of peace and love that all parents want to fill their children with.” 

Shaka Zulu Revisited is a 30-year celebration of the group's first album released worldwide, Shaka Zulu, which won the first GRAMMY Award for the group. In 2014, Ladysmith Black Mambazo's founder, Joseph Shabalala, retired, handing his four sons the role of joint leaders. With the passing of his torch, Joseph's son's wanted to honor their father and other members of the original group, who have retired or passed away. By re-recording the songs from the original album, they present these new versions for both long time fans as well as people who have only recently become acquainted with the group's music. Joseph’s son Thulani Shabalala said, "Shaka Zulu Revisitedencompasses so much history for us. By re-recording the original album and having the GRAMMY Awards deem Shaka Zulu Revisited one of the five best World Music albums of 2017, this becomes an amazing moment for everyone involved with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, past and present.”