South Africans and music lovers all over the world have gone on various social media platforms to mourn SA legend Joseph Shabalala who died at the age of 78 in Life Eugene Marais Hospital, Pretoria, on February 11, 2020.
Shabalala was a South African singer and musician. He founded the choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and was the musical director of the group which won five Grammy awards and featured heavily on Paul Simon’s Graceland album. The group also reached number 15 in the UK charts with a cover of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, for the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
The death of Shabalala, who helped introduce the sound of traditional Zulu music to the world, was announced by the band’s manager.
“Yes it’s true. Mr Shabalala passed on this morning,” Xolani Majozi told the South Africa Times on February 11.
“The group is on tour in the US, but they have been informed and are devastated because the group is family,” Xolani added.
In a statement, the band said: “We celebrate and honour your kind heart and your extraordinary life. Through your music and the millions who you came in contact with, you shall live forever.”
The South African government also paid tribute to the musician in a tweet, saying : “We would like to extend our condolences on the passing of Joseph Shabalala who was the founder of the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.”
It added in Xhosa, “Ulale ngoxolo Tata ugqatso lwakho ulufezile.” This translates in English to mean “Rest in peace, father, your race is complete.”
Herman Mashaba, former mayor of Johannesburg, mourned Joseph Shabalala, writing: “I am deeply saddened. You will be remembered as a giant of South African music and a pioneer of the industry.”
Below are more tributes from fans.