joseph shabalala

joseph shabalala Bio, Wiki

joseph shabalala was a South African singer and musician, who was the founder and musical director of the choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has died at 78. his birth name was Bhekizizwe Joseph Siphatimandla Mxoveni Mshengu Bigboy Shabalala. He was born on 28 August 1941 and died on 11 February 2020 in Life Eugene Marais Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa.


Quick Bio
Birth Date28 August 1941
Birth PlaceLadysmith, South Africa
Death Date11 February 2020
Age78 years
Professionsinger and musician
SpouseNellie Shabalala
ChildrenSibongiseni Shabalala, Thulani Shabalala, Thamsanqa Shabalala, Msizi Shabalala
SiblingsHeadman Shabalala, Jockey Shabalala, Makhosini Shabalala, Ben Shabalala, Enoch Shabalala
Net WorthUpdate Soon


Earlier Life and Career

He was born in the town of Ladysmith in the KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He is the son of Jonathan Mluwane Shabalala and Nomandla Elina Shabalala. He raised Joseph and his six siblings on a white-owned farm called Tugela. His father died in the late 1940s; Joseph, being the eldest, had to take care of the family. He left the farm, however, in 1958 to search for work in the nearby town of Durban.

During this time, he was spotted by a well-known group, the Durban Choir, after he delighted audiences with his smooth guitar playing and soprano voice. When he joined the Choir, he attempted to teach them some of his new compositions, namely his first song Nomathemba. They refused, and so he left them after only two years.

In 1958, Joseph discovered an isicathamiya group, The Highlanders, led by his hero Galiyane Hlatshwayo. Hlatshwayo was the man who encouraged Joseph to use his voice powerfully. Joseph formed his own group the following year 1959, Ezimnyama.

A series of dreams Joseph had in his sleep in December 1960 was a major turning point in the formation of the group; when he saw how well his group did in the once-weekly isicathamiya competitions, he renamed them Ladysmith Black Mambazo, “Mambazo” meaning axe, referring to how the group chopped down the other choirs by winning almost every time.

Wife & Children

According to the released statement, Shabalala was with his wife, Thokozile Shabalala, during his last moments. The pair have been married since 2002 and had four children namely: Sibongiseni Shabalala, Thulani Shabalala, Thamsanqa Shabalala, and Msizi Shabalala.

Group manager Majozi added that Shabalala’s family would issue an official statement later. Shabalala’s son Sibongiseni took over the leadership of Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 2017 after his father’s failing health. He, however, occasionally made appearances with the group at events.

Death and Cause

joseph shabalala died on 11 February 2020 at the age of 78. Over the past few years, Shabalala’s health deteriorated, resulting in him retiring from the group in 2014. In 2017, he was admitted to the hospital after his health took a nosedive after he underwent spine surgery and “struggled” to get back on his feet. In early 2020, Shabalala was admitted to hospital due to ill health, with family and friends asking fans to keep him in their prayers. It was his ill health that eventually led to his death.

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