Joseph Shabalala contributed to SA's liberation, says Jacob Zuma Foundation

11 February 2020 - 12:42 By Zimasa Matiwane

Joseph Shabalala, who helped introduce traditional Zulu music to the world, died aged 78 on February 11 2020. The musician was best known as the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which won five Grammy awards.

Condolences are pouring in for legendary musician Joseph Shabalala, who died on Tuesday morning.

Shabalala, the founder of Grammy Award-winning isicathamiya group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, died at the age of 78 at Life Eugene Marais hospital in Pretoria after a long illness, group manager Xolani Majozi confirmed.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation extended its condolences to the Shabalala family shortly after his death.

“Prof Shabalala has contributed to the liberation of this country in the form of arts and other ways some might not know. He played a very pivotal role in the shaping of the music industry in this country in particular,” said Dudu Myeni, head of the foundation.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala hailed Shabalala as a visionary music maestro who steered the group to unprecedented glory when it became the first African musical outfit to win a Grammy Award in 1987.

“This is indeed a very sad day in our country’s history. Ubaba uMshengu was like no other. He was a unique and inimitable artist whose musical brilliance helped him break new ground.

“Through his exploits, he flew the country’s flag and indeed that of the continent very high, and helped inspire millions of people, showing them that if you work hard, anything is possible,” Zikalala said. 

The premier is expected to visit the musician's family.