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Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala has died

FILE IMAGE: Ladysmith Black Mambazo leader Joseph Shabalala.
FILE IMAGE: Ladysmith Black Mambazo leader Joseph Shabalala.
Image: Phumlani Thabethe

Legendary iscathamiya singer and founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo Joseph Shabalala has passed on.

Shabalala, 79 died after a long illness at Eugune Marais Hospital in Pretoria this morning.

His death was confirmed by manager of Ladysmith Black Mamabazo, Xolani Mazozi. Majozi told SowetanLive that Shabalala's wife was with him when he drew his last breath.

He explained that the iconic singer had not been out of hospitals since mid 2019. 

“Bab' Shabalala was a legend of this lifetime, and it will take time to raise a person of his calibre. His  is the greatest loss to the entertainment industry and to the world. He raised the standard of the iscathamiya and took to international stages where it excelled. His was a global being.”

The group that has won five Grammy awards  landed their first recording deal with Gallo Records in 1970, have toured the world and collaborated with various world stars.

The group achieved international fame and some of the group’s highlights was collaborating with Paul Simon on his Graceland album in 1986. In 2014, Shabalala retired from performing with the group, leaving his sons to take over.

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.

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