HIS LEGACY WILL LIVE ON

YOU South Africa|27 February 2020

HIS LEGACY WILL LIVE ON
Joseph Shabalala’s family remember the legendary musician who took Zulu choral music to great heights
ZAMA NTEYI

LONG before Trevor Noah, Charlize Theron and the stars of the movie Tsotsi were even close to being known worldwide, he was putting South Africa on the global map.

His magnetic presence, charming personality and unique brand of Zulu choral music helped him to turn Ladysmith Black Mambazo into a house­ hold name as far back as the 1980s.

No surprise then that tributes poured in from London to Los Angeles, from Namibia to New York. And, of course, from all his local fans who adored this national treasure.

Even on his deathbed Joseph Shabalala never stopped singing, his family tells YOU.

He died, aged 78, surrounded by his loved ones. His final moments were with his wife, Thoko, his eldest son, Nkosinathi, and his siblings.

“My brother is at perfect peace,” his younger sister, Nomusa Mkhabela (58), says.

The family got together on Christmas Day at her house and they all spent time with him. “At that time he’d become seriously ill, and he’d lost his speech. How ever, he’d sing – even on his death­ bed,” she says.

Jabulile Nyembe (63), another sister, was also at his bedside. “I wish I could turn back the clock, but I know he’s finally in a peaceful place.”

Nkosinathi (59), a school princi­ pal in Clermont, Durban, says his father had been ill for some time.

“He’d prepared us for this day,” he says.

“I say this because he’d already chosen his tombstone and the grave site where he wanted to be buried.

“He’d made it clear that he wanted to be buried in Ladysmith.”

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27 February 2020