Tributes paid to music icon Joseph Shabalala

Tributes paid to music icon Joseph Shabalala

South Africa has been reacting to the news of the death of music legend Joseph Shabalala.

Joseph Shabalala dies at 78

The founder of the award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo passed away in a Pretoria hospital this morning. He was 78.

Durban-born singer and activist PJ Powers says she will miss the presence and voice of her close friend and music icon.

"I salute him. I will miss him. I am so glad that he was there at my first show and I was there at his last, which is quite a thing to think of. I sang 'Knocking on heaven's door' with Joseph on his last performance  with Ladysmith Black Mambazo," she says. 

Powers says while South Africa is in mourning and saddened by his passing Shabalala's legacy will live on.


The Office of the Premier says Shabalala enjoyed a unique and special place in the country’s constellation of influential artists.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala says today is a very sad day in South Africa's history. He says Shabalala was like no other - describing him as a unique and inimitable artist whose musical brilliance helped him break new ground. 

READ: Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala dies, condolences pour in

Political parties have also been paying tribute.

In a joint statement, IFP Founder, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and President, Velenkosini Hlabisa say Shabalala rose from difficulty to the highest pinnacles of international recognition - and proved that with discipline, focus and commitment nothing is impossible.

The ANC in KZN says many people will remain indebted to Shabalala’s music prowess and the ambassadorial role he played for many years.

It says Ladysmith Black Mambazo's music became synonymous with the struggle at the height of apartheid and inspired many people in the global community.

The DA has also expressed condolences to Shabalala's family. The party's KZN leader, Zwakhele Mncwango has described him as a legend who brought the world's attention to South Africa through his authentic music.

The EFF says the music industry has lost a pioneer in traditional Zulu choral music. It says Ladysmith Black Mambazo has played a significant role in promoting social cohesion.

Shabalala has passed away on the 30th anniversary of the release of South Africa's first democratic president from prison.

On the 11 of February in 1990 - Nelson Mandela emerged from the gates of the Victor Verster prison - after 27 years in prison.

Various events are being held around the country to commemorate the historic day.

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