Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder, Bhekizizwe Joseph Siphatimandla Mxoveni Mshengu Bigboy Shabalala, passed on today, Tuesday at Life Eugene Marais in Pretoria aged 78.
Remembering this gigantic life, we find it fitting to share some of the highlights in his music career.
- In 1959, Joseph Shabalala formed a group, Ezimnyama (The Black Ones) which was renamed to Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
- After being signed to Gallo Music in 1972, the group sold over 40,000 copies of their first album.
- In 1986, the group collaborated with Paul Simon and co-composed the now-famous song, ‘Homeless’.
- In 1987, the group won their first solo Grammy Award – Best Traditional Folk Album for Shaka Zulu.
- Shabalala went on to setup Ladysmith Black Mambazo Foundation, a music academy to promote and teach isicathamiya music to young South African children.
- In 2014, Shabalala announced his retirement from the group with his son Thamsanqa Shabalala taking over as the lead singer.
Indeed, Mr Shabalala contributed immensely to the growth of the South African music not only locally but also exposing it to the world stage. Music Link salutes him for his bravery and dedication. May his soul rest in peace.