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Darkness disrupts Shabalala's service

Yvonne Chaka Chaka at the memorial service for Joseph Shabalala yesterday. /Veli Nhlapo
Yvonne Chaka Chaka at the memorial service for Joseph Shabalala yesterday. /Veli Nhlapo

The memorial of the late iconic isicathamiya singer Joseph Shabalala ended abruptly yesterday, thanks to loadshedding.

The service at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg had to be stopped when the lights went off, leaving the venue completely in the dark.

The proceedings ended before the family representatives could speak as Shabalala, 78, was remembered. Apart from a poor attendance, the service began two hours late.

Shabalala, who founded multi-Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, died last week after a long illness at a Pretoria hospital.

Attendees included the Shabalala family.

Speakers praised him for his passion for African traditional music and culture.

The service began with one of Shabalala's prot�g�s, Mtuba Thulisa Brothers isicathamiya, who celebrated the legend's life through music.

The group even performed some of Ladysmith Black Mambazo hits such as Hallo My Baby. It was followed by Junior Mambazo, a group that was founded by Nkosinathi Shabalala, one of his sons.

Dr Thulani Mbuli, chairperson of the National Heritage Council of South Africa, described Shabalala as genius, lyricist and a philosopher.

"Joseph served our country both locally and internationally. He won prestigious awards from various institutions because his talent could not be ignored. He represented the country well," Mbuli said.

Composers, Authors and Publishers COO Wiseman Ngubo said: "Bab Shabalala gave South African traditional music a meaning.

"He popularised it and promoted one of our traditional genres. Ladysmith Black Mambazo was dedicated and promoted the music."

Singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka said she was among the people who benefited from Shabalala's fountain of wisdom.

"He was a real superstar yet he was a father and a leader. I was fortunate to have worked with him. I attended his show at Royal Albert Hall in London and I felt proud. Bab Shabalala continued to love and embrace his culture. He was a humble and respected person."


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