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Thu Oct 23 22:35:52 SAST 2014

Grammy winners will not tour Israel

ANDILE NDLOVU | 07 April, 2011 22:410 Comments
Grammy-award-winning South African iscatamiya band, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, will perform a series of free concerts across South Africa to mark their 50th anniversary and band leader Joseph Shabalala's 70th birthday Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN

Three-time Grammy award- winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo yesterday distanced themselves from reports that they are to perform at the Opera House in Tel Aviv, Israel in June.

Protests everywhere the group has toured, especially in the US, Canada and the UK, prompted the group's PR manager, Romeo Qetsimani, to issue a statement, with help from trade union federation Cosatu, denying they will be touring to Israel .

Cosatu had earlier criticised the group for their rumoured decision to play at the second most populous city in the troubled country.

Qetsimani said yesterday: "We would like to categorically state that we have not been in communication with any Israeli organisers, and we have no idea where these rumours come from."

It was reported in the Sunday Times in December last year that the group was invited to perform there in June this year.

The article quoted Omar Barghouti, of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, who suggested then that the group cancel its appearances, just like musician Carlos Santana, poet Gil Scott-Heron and actress Meg Ryan, who he said had all cancelled performances and appearances in Israel over "its human rights abuses".

Ladysmith Black Mambazo performed in Israel four years ago.

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