President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Nathi Mthethwa during a meet and greet session with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Picture: Kopano Tlale

Pretoria - Sporting a Madiba lookalike shirt, President Cyril Ramaphosa appeared starstruck when he met Ladysmith Black Mambazo for the first time at the State Theatre, on Sunday.

The group took the stage at the State Theatre in Pretoria on Friday, Saturday and Sunday  in celebration of the 100 years of the birth of Nelson Mandela.

Mutual admiration abounded with Ramaphosa saluting the members of the auspicious Grammy winning group an intimate meet and greet session before their  performance.

Also flashing endless smiles was Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthetwa, who said he was looking forward to being serenaded the the Isicathamiya  group. “We government officials often do a lot of talking. Today we are going to be listening to the wonderful sounds of amaMbazo,” he said.

Ramaphosa echoed Mthetwa’s sentiments saying: “We are indeed ready to listen to your melodic sounds, so that we can’t not only feed our ears but also feed our souls."

The president described the group as the most valuable asset and export in South Africa. “We produce gold, diamonds, platinum and wine but you are by far the  most valuable export,” he said. He said the group had done a lot to put South Africa on the map. 

The Isicathamiya group wasted no time boasting the five Grammies to Ramaphosa. The five gold trophies stood in front of them guarded like prized possessions. “I want to take the fifth Grammy to the Union Buildings,” laughed Ramaphosa.

The music group won its fifth Grammy at the ceremony in New York for its album Shaka Zulu Revisited.

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