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By Citizen Reporter


Joseph Shabalala to be laid to rest in special official funeral

Shabalala, who died last week after a long illness, will be laid to rest at his hometown of Ladysmith today.

Founder of the multi-award-winning musical group Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be honoured with a special official funeral where President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the eulogy.

Joseph Shabalala, who died last week at the age of 78 after a long illness, will be laid to rest at his hometown of Ladysmith today reports EWN.

Shabalala 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.

Legendary muso Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse was one of the first local celebrities to express his condolences of Twitter, saying: “My friend… a giant, humble man, Joseph Shabalala, passed away this morning.

“My sincere condolences to his family and friends #RIPJosephShabalala Rest In Peace Joseph.”

Film producer Anant Singh said in a statement that he was deeply saddened by the passing of Shabalala.

“I had the privilege of working with him on the music of our film, CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY, and we remained firm friends over the years. As the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, he and the group flew the South African flag high in the international arena and took the indigenous isicathamiya form to the world.

“Both he and the group were justly rewarded, being recognised with numerous awards, including receiving the coveted Grammy Award on numerous occasions. With his roots as a son of KwaZulu-Natal, he rose to become a global musical icon. I send my heartfelt condolences to the Shabalala family and the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I wish them strength during this difficult time. “

(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho, additional reporting by Hayden Horner)

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