Political parties across the country have joined millions of South Africans in mourning the passing away of Joseph Shabalala, one of the founders of award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo.  Picture: AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek, File
Political parties across the country have joined millions of South Africans in mourning the passing away of Joseph Shabalala, one of the founders of award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Picture: AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek, File

'His music became synonymous with Struggle': Parties mourn Joseph Shabalala death

By SIHLE MAVUSO Time of article published Feb 11, 2020

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Durban - Political parties across the country have joined millions of South Africans in mourning the passing away of Joseph Shabalala, one of the founders of award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo. 

Shabalala passed away in Pretoria on Tuesday after battling an illness for a long time.  He was 78. 

The ANC in KZN mourned the death of the music legend by saying while he was gravely ill, there was always a flicker of hope he would pull through. The party credited him for popularising isicathamiya genre of music.

"His music became synonymous with the struggling people of South Africa at the height of apartheid and it inspired many a people in the global community that freedom would one day be achieved in South Africa. It is no wonder that international artists like Paul Simon and Andreas Vollenweider saw it fit to rope Ladysmith Black Mambazo in their award-winning albums such as Graceland,” the party said. 

The party added that it was no coincidence that former President Nelson Mandela was so fond of Shabalala and Black Mambazo that he always insisted that they form part of entertainment during international conferences held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. 

“It is such a paradox that Mshengu took his last breath on the very same day that his hero Nelson Mandela took his first strides to freedom on this day 30 years ago. The people of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, the continent and the world will remain indebted to Mshengu’s music prowess and the ambassadorial role he played in all his years from the 50s until his demise as he held aloft the flag of the Republic of South Africa.” 

In its condolences, the IFP said Shabalala would be fondly remembered for his contribution in opening up the music space for youth development.

“Mshengu rose from difficulty to the highest pinnacles of international recognition, inspiring every South African that with discipline, focus and commitment, he proved that, despite all odds, nothing is impossible. The greatest legacy any South African can leave behind is that of the ability to inspire others,” the party said. 

The leader of the DA in KZN, Zwakele Mncwango, said his party pays tribute to this legend who brought the world's attention to South Africa through his authentic music, that led to the group being honoured five times with the prestigious Grammy awards.

“The DA extends its sincere sympathies to the wife, Thokozile Shabalala, family and the whole music fraternity. We hope the group will continue his legacy! Ulale ngoxolo Mshengu Shabalala!”

The speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, Nontembeko Boyce, said Shabalala was one of the country’s greatest musical exports whose musical contributions had drawn the attention of the world to South Africa for close to six decades.

“As a province and the country we have lost a doyen of immense musical talent, we are deeply saddened by the passing of uBaba uJoseph Shabalala. While he had been sick for some time, we kept hoping that he would eventually recuperate however it was not to be. On behalf of the entire KZN legislature, we wish his family strength during this time,” said Boyce.

Other prominent condolences came from eThekwini mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda and from the Confederation of African Trade Unions.

Political Bureau

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