The special official funeral of the founder of the multi-award-winning musical group Ladysmith Black Mambazo Joseph Shabalala is currently underway in his hometown of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the eulogy in due course.
Shabalala died last week at the age of 78 after a long illness.
He had been battling with his health ever since his retirement from the Ladysmith Black Mambazo about five years ago but his condition took a turn for the worse over the December period.
In a statement issued in January, the group’s manager Xolani Majozi confirmed that Shabalala had been admitted to hospital in December, in Durban.
“He was then transferred to another hospital in Gauteng. He’s not been feeling well and we plead with the community and all the South Africans to pray for the family of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Shabalala family as they are facing this situation.”
The South African government confirmed the musician’s death earlier this month on its Twitter feed.
“We would like to extend our condolences on the passing of Joseph Shabalala, who was the founder of the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo,” adding in isiXhosa, “Ulale ngoxolo Tata ugqatso lwakho ulufezile [Rest in peace, father, your race is complete].”
Shabalala will forever be known as the South African artist who helped introduce the sound of traditional Zulu music to the world in 1986, when his group featured heavily on Paul Simon’s Graceland album just six years after he founded the group at age 18.
(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho, additional reporting by Hayden Horner)