Nine years later after the passing of our former president, five-time Grammy winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo will celebrate the life and times of a world-renowned political icon and a leader with a concert featuring their classic hit songs and new music.
Sibongiseni Shabalala, son of the late Joseph Shabalala who founded the group in 1964, said, "The late President Nelson Mandela was a big supporter of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. He said that when he was on Robben Island, Ladysmith Black Mambazo was consoling them and giving them hope that one day South Africa will be free.”
“The President also invited Ladysmith Black Mambazo to travel with him to Oslo when he was honoured with a Nobel peace prize. After that momentous event, Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo wrote a song in honour of Madiba being a recipient of a Nobel peace prize and being an international symbol of peace and unity. The song titled Long Walk To Freedom was a tribute to Nelson Mandela for being the first democratically elected president in South Africa," Shabalala continued.
"The concert also will also celebrate the 62-year legacy of Ladysmith Black Mambazo being in the music industry,” said Albert Mazibuko, who has been in the isicathamiya group since it started.
Mazibuko continued, "The Celebrate Nelson Mandela concert is a celebration of what Mandela stood for and so it is aimed at spreading the message of love and peace throughout the world. The event is aimed at also encouraging people not to resort to violence in times of disagreement, but rather use peaceful amicable means. This will be an annual event that will travel to different countries, preaching the message of peace through the songs of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. "
This show is a rare moment for South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo fans to interact with the legends and experience a full, live performance by this internationally-renowned group who spend most of their time touring the globe.
"This Joburg Theatre show will also pay tribute to our late father, the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo Professor Joseph Shabalala, who also believed in peace and love,” explained Sibongiseni.
Their message of peace and love through music will spread overseas in October when they land in the UK for a tour. The group, through its Ladysmith Black Mambazo Mobile Academy programme, has selected two groups who will be travelling with them: Gods Fellas from Rustenburg and Meduduwetsane from Kimberly.
This mobile academy is a developmental project aimed at discovering, developing and exposing the music talent of artists doing acapella and indigenous music while preserving the culture and heritage of Isicathamiya/acapella music by creating a platform for sustainable jobs for upcoming artists.
The search for talent has been done in all nine provinces in the country and nine different groups representing each province have been selected, mentored and given an opportunity to record. One of the groups from KwaZulu-Natal – the Africa Mamas - also travelled to Germany in November 2019 through the support of Ladysmith Black Mambazo Mobile Academy.
The Celebrate Nelson Mandela concert will later be broadcast on Bet Africa.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be staging The Celebrate Nelson Mandela concert at 2pm at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein on 17 July. Tickets are R250.00 and are available here and Pick and Pay.