Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Acapella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo represents some of the best that has ever come out of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

“Their music has sustained the country over the years and is made much more pleasant by the fact that they started out of nothing and made something out of it,” said Zuma said in a statement.

“We would like to congratulate Ladysmith Black Mambazo on behalf of the South African nation. They have made us truly proud to be South African.”

Mambazo won a fourth Grammy award for Best World Music Album - for their album “Singing for Peace Around the World” -at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

“Their music is now enjoyed by a cross section and a cross-generation of South Africans, who share it with the entire world. We are also more than heartened that they dedicated both the winning album and the Grammy Award to the memory of former President Nelson Mandela,” said Zuma.

The award was shared with flamenco fusionists, the Gipsy Kings.

The ensemble, led by founder Joseph Shabalala, was thrust before a global audience in 1986 when it collaborated on Paul Simon's ground-breaking Grammy-winning album “Graceland” and joined the US songwriter's ensuing tour, according to Agence France-Presse.

Their album “Shaka Zulu”, produced by Simon, netted their first Grammy in 1988 for Best Folk Recording.

The group was awarded two more Grammys for “Raise Your Spirit Higher” in 2004 and “Ilembe” in 2009.

The ANC Youth League said the award was an image booster after the poor performance by the national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, during the African Nations Champions tournament being held in South Africa.

Bafana Bafana failed to make it past the group stages in the tournament.

“We call on young people to consider spending their free time engaged on recreational activities like sports and the arts,” said ANCYL.

“We will continue to encourage local municipalities to allocate budgets to performing arts and sports so as to cultivate more stars and Grammy winners.” - Sapa