Legendary South African singer, Joseph Shabalala dies aged 78

South Africans are currently in mourning as the legendary singer, Joseph Shabalala has died aged 78.

Shabalala, who founded the legendary South African group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, died on Tuesday, according to South Africa Times.

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The group’s manager, Xolani Majozi told the publication: “Yes it’s true. Mr Shabalala passed on this morning.

“The group is on tour in the US, but they have been informed and are devastated because the group is family.”

The group has won five Grammys and helped introduce the traditional Zulu music to the world.

In a statement, the band said: “Bhekizizwe Joseph Shabalala. Our Founder, our Teacher and most importantly, our Father left us today for eternal peace. We celebrate and honor your kind heart and your extraordinary life. Through your music and the millions who you came in contact with, you shall live forever.”

The South African government also paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing: “We would like to extend our condolences on the passing of Joseph Shabalala who was the founder of the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

It added in Xhosa, “Ulale ngoxolo Tata ugqatso lwakho ulufezile.” (Rest in peace, father, your race is complete.)

Shambalala was born in 1941 in South Africa as the oldest of eight children living on a farm. He said during an interview that he’d dreamed of becoming an educated person, like a doctor or a teacher.

When he was 12, however, his father died and he was forced to leave school. He worked on the farm and later in a factory, singing with friends in his spare time.

He eventually became the lead singer and composer for the choir, who was rechristened Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

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