Joseph Shabalala Bio, Age, Wiki, Cause of Death, Wife, Career, Children, Net Worth

Joseph Shabalala Bio – Wiki

Joseph Shabalala was the founder and musical director of the South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

He was born on 28 August 1941 in Ladysmith, South Africa. His birth name was Bhekizizwe Joseph Siphatimandla Mxoveni Mshengu Bigboy Shabalala. Joseph died on 11 February 2020 at the age of 78.


His parents, Jonathan Mluwane Shabalala and Nomandla Elina Shabalala raised Joseph and his six siblings on a white-owned farm called Tugela. His father died in the late 1940s; Joseph, being the eldest, had to take care of the family. He left the farm, however, in 1958 to search for work in the nearby town of Durban.


he was spotted by a well-known group, the Durban Choir after he delighted audiences with his smooth guitar playing and soprano voice. When he joined the Choir, he attempted to teach them some of his new compositions, namely his first song “Nomathemba” (which was made into a play in 1995). They refused, and so he left them after only two years.

In 1958, Joseph discovered an isicathamiya group, The Highlanders, led by his hero Galiyane Hlatshwayo. Hlatshwayo was the man who encouraged Joseph to use his voice powerfully. Joseph formed his own group the following year 1959, Ezimnyama (“The Black Ones”).

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A series of dreams Joseph had in his sleep in December 1960 was a major turning point in the formation of the group; when he saw how well his group did in the once-weekly isicathamiya competitions, he renamed them Ladysmith Black Mambazo, “Mambazo” meaning axe, referring to how the group chopped down the other choirs by winning almost every time.

After local radio airplay (on the S.A.B.C. station Radio Zulu), Joseph accepted a recording contract that was offered in 1972 by Gallo Music producer West Nkosi.

The group sold over 40,000 copies of their first album and continued to do so through other recordings. In 1976, Joseph became a Christian, and the songs in the Mambazo repertoire were shuffled to one side to include generalized Christian, Methodist, and Zionist hymns sung in the Zulu language.


Nellie Shabalala was the wife of Ladysmith Black Mambazo (LBM) leader and founder, Joseph Shabalala, for over thirty years.

Nellie was shot and killed by a masked gunman, initially for unknown reasons, in May 2002.

Joseph Shabalala Death

Joseph Shabalala, who helped introduce the sound of traditional Zulu music to the world, has died aged 78.

Shabalala died in hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, the band’s manager said.

“Yes, it’s true. Mr. Shabalala passed on this morning,” Xolani Majozi told the South Africa Times.

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

In a statement, the band said: “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 paid tribute to the musician in a tweet, saying: “We would like to extend our condolences on the passing of Joseph Shabalala who was the founder of the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Net Worth

His estimated Net Worth in 2019 was $1 Million – $5 Million (Approx.)

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