Members of the Grammy Award group Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Members of the Grammy Award group Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo's lasting legacy for indigenous music

By Mervyn Naidoo Time of article published Jun 6, 2019

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DURBAN: World renowned acapella and multiple Grammy Award winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be hosting their first ever Cothoza Music Awards (Comas) later this month.

The Comas which will run from June 19 to 22 at The Playhouse in Durban is the culmination of the group’s long time desire to honour the country’s isicathamiya (cultural and religious acapella) artists.

Proceedings at the three-day event will begin with a masterclass on the opening day, where emerging isicathamiya students will be taught by skilled practitioners.

A  music concert will be day two’s offering and the awards will be the grand finale, which will include live performances by some leading artists.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s founder, Professor Joseph Shabalala, said he was pleased that the awards were finally a reality.

Shabalala said: “It's a long time dream for isicathamiya music to be recognised, not only as a national music treasure, but also as a great cultural export."

Another of the group’s founding members, Albert Mazibuko, said: “The Comas will honour and acknowledge great contributions made by isicathamiya groups dating back from the era of Solomon Linda who created the globally known classic ‘Imbube’, and also acknowledge the current isicathamiya artists who are the torch bearers of this iconic music genre.

The slogan for the first-ever Comas is 'Azibuye emasizweni a uzulu' an idiom loosely translated as  “Let's go back to our roots.”

Sibongiseni Shabalala, another member of the group said the Comas were designed to create a sustainable market for the Isicathamiya music genre and draw new audiences.

He also believes that the event will also help “Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s dream of leaving a lasting legacy for our indigenous music.”     


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