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Ramaphosa: Shabalala to receive Order of Ikhamanga

While delivering his eulogy, President Ramaphosa announced the late founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo would be honoured for his contribution to the arts.

President Cyril Ramaphosa stands between KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala and the wife of the late music legend Joseph Shabalala at his funeral in Ladysmith. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN

DURBAN – President Cyril Ramaphosa said the late Joseph Shabalala would be honoured with The Order of Ikhamanga for his contribution to the arts.

The president delivered the eulogy at the funeral service of the Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder.

Shabalala has been laid to rest in his hometown of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal

The music legend died last week at the age of 79 after a long illness.

Shabalala’s funeral service was emotionally charged and music-filled.

Ramaphosa said the late music icon was counted among the greatest artists of all time in the country.

“Bab’Shabalala’s life is instructive in many ways. He was not formally trained in music. He learned by listening to others, from other genres, and from his own mistakes. He championed pride in culture, language and indigenous music.”

Earlier, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said there would be a number of projects in honour of Shabalala, including an isicathamiya academy.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said Shabalala's music preached the message of political tolerance.

“His music was always educating people about the prevailing conditions in our country and the world. When Mambazo sang the song Homeless, their message resonated with the plight of our people who were forcefully removed.”

Shabalala is survived by his wife Kamaduna, four siblings, seven children as well grand and great-grandchildren.

A CHAMPION OF INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES

The president said Shabalala was a champion of indigenous languages at a time when it was difficult to do so.

Ramaphosa said he was confident that because of Shabalala's hard work, Ladysmith Black Mambazo would survive beyond his passing.

"Wherever I’ve travelled around the world, people have often related to me the experience of hearing for the first time the music in which Shabalala distinguished himself through isicathamiya," he said.

Mourners at his funeral service recounted tales of his humility despite his international success.

The music legend has been laid to rest at the Ladysmith Cemetery in KwaZulu-Natal.