President Ramaphosa pays tribute to Shabalala

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the late founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala.

He passed away on Tuesday morning in the Eugene Marais Hospital in Pretoria, at the age of 78.

In a statement issued by the Presidency, Ramaphosa says, “The inspirational leadership and passion of Joseph Shabalala ensured that Ladysmith Black Mambazo filled the hearts of humanity with their joyfulness, sadness and poignancy – from the villages and towns of their origins in KwaZulu-Natal, to the far corners of the earth.”

Adding that “Ladysmith Black Mambazo richly deserved the National Order of Ikhamanga which the choral group was awarded in October 2008.”


Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane lent her voice to the tributes that poured in. Kubayi-Ngubane says that it was through his music that Shabalala became one of South Africa’s greatest brand ambassadors.

“We’ve just heard of the passing of Shabalala. My condolences to the family, in saying he was a legend in terms of tourism. We also recognise those who are brand ambassadors who carry the message of South Africa. Many people got to know South Africa because of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Therefore from the tourism point of view, we do appreciate this contribution and we do believe that his legacy will live on.”

Honours and awards

Over the years the group would receive numerous honours and awards at home and across the globe including five Grammy Awards- the premier US award.

The first Grammy came in 1988 for Best Traditional Folk Recording for their Album Shaka Zulu and the 5th will come in 2018 for Best World Music Album on Shaka Zulu Revisited.

Members of the group give credit to their founder, Shabalala for all the achievements they have received because of the work ethic that he instilled in them from day one.

More tributes for Shabalala

Tributes from political parties 

Political parties have added their voices to tributes pouring in for late Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder, Joseph Shabalala.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says Shabalala will be remembered for his role in fighting for democracy. ANC spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Ricardo Mthembu says former President Nelson Mandela was inspired by the message in Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s songs.

Congress of the People (COPE) says the name of the late founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo Joseph Shabalala will remain engraved in the hearts of South Africans and the world.

COPE says Shabalala will go down in history as a music legend who was very proud of his culture and his language.