Joseph Shabalala

Choir leader
Joseph Shabalala, born Bhekizizwe Joseph Siphatimandla Mxoveni Mshengu Bigboy Shabalala, was a South African singer and musician who was the founder and musical director of the choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.Wikipedia
BornAugust 28, 1940
HometownLadysmith, South Africa
SpouseNellie , Thokozile
ChildrenThulani Shabalala , Thamsanqa Shabalala , Sibongiseni Shabalala , Msizi Shabalala
ParentsJonathan Mluwane Shabalala , Nomandla Elina Shabalala
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Joseph Shabalala: Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder who took the South African choir to international acclaim

  • Back in the 1980s few would have predicted that a Zulu vocal choir would break out of apartheid South Africa to win a vast international audience, but Ladysmith Black Mambazo achieved just this. The choir’s leader, Joseph Shabalala, who has died aged 78, knew that his legacy would live on: Ladysmith Black Mambazo have continued to tour the world since Shabalala retired six years ago and four of his sons are members of the current ensemble.Ladysmith Black Mambazo first achieved international attention when the American singer and songwriter Paul Simon employed them on his hugely successful 1986 album Graceland and subsequent world tour. Paradoxically, because Simon visited South Africa to meet Shabalala (and other African musicians) – so breaking the cultural boycott – he faced vocal criticism from anti-apartheid campaigners. Shabalala himself said that, by breaking the boycott, Simon had helped black South Africans in their struggle.