KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Arts and Culture Hlengiwe Mavimbela says the provincial government will write to the national government asking for an official funeral for the late Joseph Shabalala, founder of the internationally acclaimed group Ladymsith Black Mambazo.

Mavimbela was among the mourners who visited Shabalala family in Ladysmith.

She says the family has asked the provincial government to approach national government with this request. Shabalala’s funeral is to be held on the 22nd of February.

Mourners and friends have been arriving at Shabalala’s homestead in Ladysmith to mourn the death of Joseph Shabalala on Wednesday after a long illness.

Joseph Shabalala’s older son, Nkosinathi, says his father was still a father to them while pursuing a musical career.

“It’s very difficult cope with this situation, but there is nothing we can do as the family. We have to accept it. He’s role in the family is that of a father figure to me. He’s my father, brother, friend and everything. His presence at home; we felt it all the time. He taught us this kind of music and we have to respect what God has given you as a talent. You must work hard for that. We are still going to live with that in our minds,” says Nkosinathi Shabalala.

One of Shabalala’s neighbours Genie Lewis says Shabalala left an outstanding and amazing legacy.

“I am devastated about the untimely death of Shabalala and he is one of our icons that left an outstanding legacy. I can now be able to sing in IsiZulu because of Shabalala. So, he was so kind all the time,” says Lewis.

Kwaito star Thokozani Zulu was also among the large number of mourners visiting the Shabalala home. He says musicians should be recognized while they are still alive.

The manager of Ladysmith Black Mambazo Xolani Majozi says it is difficult for members of the group to accept that Shabalala is no more.

“I am deeply concerned about Shabalala and especially, the co-foumder of the group Albert Mazibuko. It will be difficult for him to accept the death of Shabalala as he used to wake them up in the middle of the night to compose songs that promote unity and respect and that is why the group still exists today because of Shabalala,” says Majozi.

Tributes for Joseph Shabalala:

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for arts and culture Hlengiwe Mavimbela says the provincial government will write to the national government asking for an official funeral.

The family has allowed us as government to write to the national government and ask for Shabalala to be given a funeral he deserves because he was a global icon and he deserve that respect,” says Mavimbela.

The funeral of Shabalala will be held on the 22nd February. I am Khalesakhe Mbhense at Ladysmith.