The National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) and the South African Traditional Music Awards (SATMA) sends sincere condolences to the Shabalala family for the loss of their globally loved Father, leader and role model, Dr Bhekizizwe Joseph Shabalala whose passing was announced in the early hours of today.
The traditional music and heritage fraternity mourns his passing in sympathy with the Ladysmith Black Mambazo members, the fans and the SATMA patrons around the world.
Says Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa, CEO of the NHC, “We woke up to the sad news this morning that uBaba Shabalala had passed on to the other world. At the age of 78, if it was not for his prolonged illness, we would have loved to see his dream of a mega competitive festival of isicathamiya being enjoyed by the fans of his trademark music and dance. His legacy stretches beyond the sounds of music. He has contributed to the preservation of heritage through his music. Today we stand proud to point to him as the only African to have won 5 Grammy Awards. The heritage that he transmitted to the world through music, language, dance and dress code brought Africa the highest recognition by the global world.”
He was the first President of the South African Traditional Music Awards (SATMA) founded by Dr Dumisani Goba and the National Heritage Council of South Africa.
“In his own right, Dr Joseph Shabalala, is an international star whose name would be etched in the walls of fame with the other revered greats that have ever lived on this earth,” says Dr Dumisani Goba the founder and CEO of SATMA.
He adds “The SATMA is now in its fifteenth year because of the firm foundation that uBaba Shabalala has built and values that he instilled in those who managed the project. In his elderly years, he could still travel to lobby for international support. In his retirement, SATMA honoured him with the title of Lifetime President. This is the role that he played until the time of his illness and passing.”
Rest in peace the legend of all times. Bhekizizwe, Siphatimandla, Mxoveni, Mshengu Shabalala.