Joseph Shabalala, founder of the legendary South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, has died at the age of 78.
Joseph passed on Tuesday morning, Xolani Majozi told South Africa Times.
“Yes it’s true. Mr Shabalala passed on this morning. The group is on tour in the US, but they have been informed and are devastated because the group is family.” Shabalala’s group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, has won 5 Grammys. The South African government, writing on Twitter, honoured his life:
We would like to extend our condolences on the passing of Joseph Shabalala who was the founder of the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Ulale ngoxolo Tata ugqatso lwakho ulufezile. [Rest in peace, father, your race is complete.]
Joseph Shabalala, born Bhekizizwe Joseph Siphatimandla Mxoveni Mshengu Bigboy Shabalala, was a South African singer and musician who was the founder and musical director of the choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Joseph was born in the town of Ladysmith (eMnambithi district) in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa. His parents, Jonathan Mluwane Shabalala and Nomandla Elina Shabalala, raised Joseph and his six siblings on a white-owned farm called Tugela. His father died in the late 1940s; Joseph, being the eldest, had to take care of the family. He left the farm, however, in 1958 to search for work in the nearby town of Durban.