Joseph Shabalala – SA has lost a decent man_1

Joseph Shabalala had reason to be arrogant: the musical group he formed, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, won five American Grammy music awards – more than any other African group. And superstar Paul Simon turned to the group when he wanted to explore new areas with his album Graceland in 1986. Though his music and rhythms may have been complex, Shabalala remained, at heart, a simple man, deeply committed both to Christianity and his Zulu culture. In the latter he proved that, even in a time of huge technology change globally, cultures can not only survive, but thrive. When he died yesterday,...
Joseph Shabalala had reason to be arrogant: the musical group he formed, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, won five American Grammy music awards – more than any other African group. And superstar Paul Simon turned to the group when he wanted to explore new areas with his album Graceland in 1986.

Though his music and rhythms may have been complex, Shabalala remained, at heart, a simple man, deeply committed both to Christianity and his Zulu culture.

In the latter he proved that, even in a time of huge technology change globally, cultures can not only survive, but thrive.

When he died yesterday, at the age of 78, South Africa lost not only an exceptionally talented musician and musical leader, but also a decent man.

Shabalala always remained a humble man and an example to others in a country where, sadly, the smallest bit of money or fame seems to go to the heads of people.

He also presented to the rest of the world the best of what South Africans can be individually as people and what we can be if we are united as one nation.

We echo the government’s official statement: “Ulale ngoxolo Tata ugqatso lwakho ulufezile [Rest in peace, father, your race is complete].”

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