Joseph Shabalala death: Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder dies, aged 78

Joseph Shabalala, the founder of the South African multi-Grammy-Award-winning music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, has died aged 78, the state broadcaster reported Tuesday.

Shabalala died at a hospital in the capital, Pretoria, Tuesday morning, his family confirmed to local media.

He is world-known for his leadership of the choral group founded in 1964 that shot to world acclaim, collaborating with Paul Simon on the album Graceland among others.

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The haunting, often a cappella singing style known as isicathamiya helped to make the group one of South Africa’s most recognised acts on the world stage.

The South African government extended its condolences. “Rest in peace, you have fulfilled your purpose,” it tweeted.

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AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek

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Getty

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Former child star Jason Davis, who voiced Recess character Mikey Blumberg, died aged 35 on 16 February.

Getty Images

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A pioneer in the genres of acid house and electronica, Weatherall produced albums, remixed musicians and worked as a DJ, artist and journalist.

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The actor Esther Scott died on 18 February aged 66 after suffering a heart attack.

She’s remembered for her roles in Boyz n the Hood, Hart of Dixie, and many other programmes including Beverly Hills, 90210, Full House, Melrose Place, The King of Queens, Sister, Sister, 7th Heaven, and ER.

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The death was announced as the country prepared to mark 30 years since the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, which led to the end of the country’s brutal system of racial oppression known as apartheid.

“[Mandela] was a loyal follower of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who had the distinction of being part of the cultural program at the Nobel ceremony where our founding president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,” South Africa’s presidency said.

Shabalala retired from Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 2014 but made occasional appearances at its events. He had been hospitalised several times since 2017.

“The group [Ladysmith Black Mambazo] is on tour in the US, but they have been informed and are devastated because the group is family,” manager Xolani Majozi told local media outlet Timeslive.

Majozi said the group would cut its trip short and return to South Africa.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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