Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa says they had committed themselves to establishing a Ladysmith Black Mambazo Academy to keep alive the legacy of Professor Joseph Shabalala. He was speaking at the special funeral of Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Professor Joseph Shabalala under way at the Ladysmith Indoor Sports Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy.

In 2018, the multi-Grammy award winning group launched the academy with the aim of giving aspiring artists the chance to learn from the group. The academy includes a series of music workshops aimed at educating the younger generations on the isicathamiya genre.

“We’ve committed ourselves to build the actual memory memorisation of him through an actual Academy. I’m happy that people see the need we had, this vision and some doomsayers were saying a lot of things – but I’m happy that people understand that we are on the right path – thank you so much that we are on the right path,” says Mthethwa.

Meanwhile, the group had to postpone part of their tour of the US to bid farewell to Proessor Shabalala. Shabalala’s son Sibongiseni says they appreciate the respect people have shown his father.

“We are very happy to see how much people respected our leader.”

 Joseph Shabalala  Special Funeral under way 

President Cyril Ramaphosa, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, Deputy Chief Justice

Raymond Zondo and South African Federation of Trade Union president Zwelinzima Vavi are among the many dignitaries that are attending the funeral.

Shabalala has been described as a person who planted the seed of the Isicathamiya music genre in the hearts of South Africans. Musician Abigail Kubheka is among the mourners.

“Joseph is one of those people who planted the seed of music, he is one of us –  I want to talk to him like in the present tense. He’s a young boy, 2 years younger than me but he is one of the people that planted the seed of music, the discipline, the love, the dedication… Joseph lived music.”