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Shabalala to be honoured with isicathamiya academy, says Mthethwa

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who is the programme director, says government will launch projects that will ensure that the musical icon is not forgotten.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala. Picture: @therealmambazo/Twitter

DURBAN – The legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala is being hailed for his contribution to upholding peace during the apartheid.

Shabalala is being honoured through a special official funeral at the Ladysmith indoor sports centre on Saturday morning.

The icon died at the age of 78 after a long illness.

Various senior officials including President Cyril Ramaphosa, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo are in attendance.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who is the programme director, says government will launch projects that will ensure that the musical icon is not forgotten.

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

“His music was always educating people about 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.”

At the same time, the Shabalala’s grandchildren say they will continue his legacy through his music.

Since the announcement of Shabalala's passing over a week ago, messages of condolences have poured in to the family of the man who founded the multi-award winning isicathamiya group in 1960.

His grandson Gagamela Shabalala says in his honour, they will maintain his legacy.

Minister Mthethwa says government will spearhead an isicathamiya academy in Shabalala's honour.

The minister says this will be done to ensure the icon is not forgotten.

Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the eulogy at the funeral.