After a request from the KwaZulu-Natal government, President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared an official state funeral in honour of the late Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder, Joseph Shabalala.
Joseph died last Tuesday morning at Life Eugene Marais Hospital in Tshwane, at the age of 78, after a long illness.
In a statement to TshisaLIVE, Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, confirmed Joseph had been granted an official state funeral, to be held this Saturday in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal.
“The Special Official Funeral Category 2 entails ceremonial elements provided by the SA Police Service. The funeral will take place on February 22 2020,” the statement said.
Ramaphosa has ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country until the evening of 22 February 2020 in Joseph's honour.
“President Ramaphosa has reiterated his sincerest condolences to the Shabalala family, members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and members of the arts and culture fraternities in SA and globally with whom Ladysmith Black Mambazo has collaborated for the better part of six decades,” the statement said.
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for arts and culture, Hlengiwe Mavimbela, told TshisaLIVE last week that Joseph's family had asked her to approach the national government with an official funeral request.
“Bab'Shabalala was a global icon, hence the MEC and premier's office believe he deserves an official funeral,” spokesperson for the MEC, Phathisa Msuyo, said.