Rest in harmonies: the axe has fallen on one of SA’s music greats

News

Rest in harmonies: the axe has fallen on one of SA’s music greats

Obituary of Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala (1941-2020)

Journalist

Joseph Shabalala, the founder of Grammy-Award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo – who "represented the true South African sound" – died on Tuesday at the age of 78.

Born in Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal in August 1941, Shabalala founded the group in the early 1960s. The young boy grew up on a white-owned farm called Tugela, and left the farm in 1958 to search for work in the nearby city of Durban.

Bhekizizwe Joseph Siphatimandla Mxoveni Mshengu Bigboy Shabalala started his musical career with the Durban Choir. Wanting to incorporate the sound he used to hear from the oxen on the farm, the choir disregarded his initiative, which made him leave the choir after two years...

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