Multi- award -winning iconic music group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, is set to perform at the Celebrate Nelson Mandela Concert on July 17, at Joburg Theatre as a way to honour the world-renowned political icon.
The Star spoke with one of the members of the group Sibongiseni Shabalala, the son of the late Joseph Shabalala who founded the group in 1964.
Shabalala shared the essence behind their upcoming performance that will celebrate both his father and Mandela.
“We are celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela and also my father Joseph Shabalala.
“It is a great concert because we want to celebrate these two legends who did a great job for the people of South Africa. Madiba went to prison for 27 years, fighting for our freedom. My father was able to promote traditional music all over the world…
“And the group was able to win five Grammy Awards with traditional music that nobody thought it could win anything in the world,” shared Shabalala.
Speaking about how the Grammy Award-winning group have kept things going, Shabalala said his father’s vision played a significant role in how they continue keep the fire going.
“His vision when he listened to the music and thought about the time that they were living in, they needed to have hope that someday they would be free. So he thought his tool to make this happen to give people hope would be to work on his music and polish it.
“And he had a vision of taking it out into the world to promote the people of South Africa. So what has kept us going is that vision of my father’s of giving hope to the people, and preaching the gospel of peace, love and harmony because he always believed that people should live in peace, even if there is something they don’t agree with,” Shabalala said.
“When Tata Madiba came out of jail, we were invited to attend his birthday celebrations. From then on when he spoke to us, he was very happy to see how we had grown. He even said the music had inspired him while he was in jail. He encouraged the group to keep up the good work and invited us to go along when he was receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.”
He further mentioned that they will perform special songs at the Nelson Mandela celebrations such as “Long Walk To Freedom”, a song that was a tribute to Nelson Mandela for being the first democratically elected president in South Africa.
The Celebrate Nelson Mandela Concert will later be broadcast on BET Africa, who are proud media partners on this show.
The Celebrate Nelson Mandela Concert is supported by the National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Joburg Theatre and BET.
For those who want to be part of the experience, tickets are available at R250 at www.joburgtheatre.com and Pick n Pay. This event is set to take place the day before the internationally celebrated Mandela Day.