Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a South African choral male group from Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal. The group was founded by Joseph Shabalala in 1960 and has amassed unimaginable fame and success culminating in four Grammy Awards.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Origin Ladysmith
South Africa


Joseph Shabalala, Thamsanqa Shabalala
Sibongiseni Shabalala, Thulani Shabalala
Msizi Shabalala, Albert Mazibuko,  Abednego Mazibuko
Russel Mthembu, Ngane Dlamini

Past Members

Ben Shabalala †, Funokwakhe Mazibuko 
Geophrey Mdletshe, Headman Shabalala †
Inos Phungula, Jabulani Dubazana, Joseph Mazibuko
 Jockey Shabalala †, Matovoti Msimango
Milton Mazibuko, Walter Malinga
Genre Isicathamiya, Mbube
Since 1960 – to date
Label Gallo Records
Heads Up International
Listen2, Warner Bros.
Shanachie, Wrasse
Associated Acts Paul Simon, The Soil
David Guetta
Nico & Vinz


Agent Unknown

Ladysmith Black Mambazo (LBM) was formed by Joseph Shabalala in 1960 in Ladysmith in the Natal Province of apartheid South Africa – today’s KwaZulu-Natal province of the Republic of South Africa.

Joseph Shabalala began performing in the early 1950s with his brothers and cousins prior to the formation of “Ladysmith Black Mambazo” and its forerunner “Ezimnyama”.

In December 1960 Joseph Shabalala formed the group called “Ezimnyama” which was composed mostly of his relatives, brothers and cousins, who had sung with him while growing up in the farm if KwaZulu-Natal.

Ezimnyama did well in Ladysmith but remained relatively unknown outside that district.

The formation of the group was as a result of a dream the founder of the group, Joseph Shabalala, had In the early 1960s “I had a dream of a type of singing group that I wanted to create.

“Not just a dream, in the wishful way, but an actual dream while I was asleep. This beautiful dream led to the creation of my group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo,” he recalled.

In 1964 Joseph Shabalala reworked and adjusted the group by introducing his younger relatives and kept the original name.

He set out to teach the group the harmonies he heard in his dreams, along the way creating what was to become a signature tune for the group, “Nomathemba”.

When Joseph Shabalala believed that the group had perfected the harmonies from his dream, he entered the group into Isicathamiya competitions, held on Saturday nights in the halls of hostels in Durban and Johannesburg.

Ezimnyama experienced great success in those competitions winning a majority of them; this prompted Joseph Shabalala to change the group’s name from “Ezimnyama” to “Ladysmith Black Mambazo” – as the group is known today.

The sound of Ladysmith Black Mambazo had become so good and refined that they were no longer allowed to compete with other Isicathamiya groups but were welcome to sing to entertain.

In 1967 Ladysmith Black Mambazo began making recordings for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) station, Radio Zulu (today’s Ukhozi FM), appearing in DJ Alexius Buthelezi’s popular  radio show Cothoza Mfana which shone a spotlight on the music of several local choirs.

In 1969 Joseph Shabalalas’ cousin Mdletshe Albert Mazibuko (the eldest of the six brothers) joined the group as a tenor voice, with his younger brother Milton Mazibuko as an alto voice.

Mdletshe Albert Mazibuko is the longest remaining member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo aside from Joseph Shabalala and has been a full-time member of the group since 1973.

After the killing of his brother Milton Mazibuko in 1980 Mdletshe Albert Mazibuko remained in the line-up – this was at the time when his brothers Funokwakhe and Joseph Mazibuko had left, and his youngest brother Abednego Mazibuko had joined.

The group’s success was so great that music producers began enticing the group to sign a recording contract.

In 1972 Ladysmith Black Mambazo signed with Gallo Record Company under the late producer West Nkosi at the company’s (Gallo Record Company) African music division, Mavuthela Music Company.

At the time Gallo Record Company was the largest recording company in South Africa; the group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, remains with that record label as of January 2015.



Recording, 1972 – to date

In February 1973 Ladysmith Black Mambazo (LBM) released their first album, Amabutho, which went on to receive gold status and was the first album by a black musician or group in South Africa to achieve such a feat.

In that same year the group release their second album titled Imbongi which also received gold or platinum certification and their third album Ufakazi Yibheshu featuring Empangeni Home Tigers.

With the release of their second album Ladysmith Black Mambazo had become professional singers; the group saw many changes; whereas the early line-ups were formed of a few Shabalalas and two (Funokwakhe and Joseph) Mazibukos, the group largely included members unrelated to Joseph Shabalala.

In 1974 Ladysmith Black Mambazo released two albums; the fourth and fifth titled Umama Lo! and Isitimela respectively.

In 1975 Joseph Shabalala converted to Christianity and a host of religious material now entered the group’s repertoire. Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s first religious album and sixth overall, Ukukhanya Kwelanga, was released soon afterwards. The album went on to earn a double platinum disc award, and the group’s repertoire came to be dominated by hymns, mostly Methodist.

In May 1976 the group released their seventh album titled Amaqhawe.

In 1977 the group’s LP (Long Play) of that year Ukusindiswa became one of their most popular religious albums, selling double gold discs within three weeks of release. That year Ladysmith Black Mambazo released two more albums titled Shintsha Sithothobala and Phezulu Emafini.

In 1978 two more albums were released by the group; Ushaka and Indlela yaseZulwini, these were followed by their thirteenth studio album titled Ezinkulu in 1979.

In 1980 Ladysmith Black Mambazo released two albums; Intokozo and Nqonqotha Mfana.

In 1981 the group released three albums; Ulwandle Oluncgwele, Cologne Zulu Festival and their eighteenth studio album titled Phansi Emgodini. By 1981 the group’s popularity was such that the apartheid government allowed the members to travel to Cologne, Germany as part of a South African folk music festival.

They toured West Germany and appeared on television, and learned some of the German language; for the group’s 1981 album Phansi Emgodini, Joseph Shabalala composed a song titled “Wir Grüssen Euch Alle” (“We greet you all”).

The following year, the group traveled back to Germany to appear on a televised quiz programme, bringing about requests for more live appearances. A track by Ladysmith Black Mambazo also appeared on the groundbreaking British compilation album The Indestructible Beat of Soweto.

From 1982 to 1990 Ladysmith Black Mambazo released 17 albums including reissues; Umthombo Wamanzi (1982), Induku Zethu (1983), Ibhayibheli Liyindlela (1984), Inkazimulo (1985), Inala (1985), Ezulwini Siyakhona (1986), Shaka Zulu (1987), Thandani (1987), Inala (Reissue, 1987), Induku Zethu (reissue, 1987), Ulwandle Olungcwele (reissue, 1987), Umthombo Wamanzi (reissue, 1987), Zibuyinhlazane (1988), Journey of Dreams (1988), Izigqi Zendoda (1988), “Two Worlds, One Heart” (1990) and Zulu Traditional (1990).

From 1992 to 2000 the group released 27 albums including compilations, live recordings, VHS/DVDs and reissues; Favourites (1992), Classic Tracks (1992), The Best of Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Vol 1 (1992), Liph’ Iqiniso (1993), Gift Of The Tortoise (1994), Zulu Hits Vol. 1 (1995), Gospel Hits Vol. 2 (1995), Shosholoza with the Team Shosholoza (1995), Ukuzala-Ukuzelula with the Mahubo Nesigekle Ladies Choir (1995), Thuthukani Ngoxolo (1996), Heavenly (Gallo, 1997), Heavenly (UMTV, 1997), The Best of (on VHS, 1997), Very Best Of – Spirit Of South Africa (1998), The Best of Ladysmith Black Mambazo – The Star and the Wiseman (Gallo, 1998), The Best of Ladysmith Black Mambazo – The Star and the Wiseman (UMTV, 1998), Inala (reissue, 1999), Thuthukani Ngoxolo (reissue, 1999), Zibuyinhlazane (reissue, 1999), Liph’ Iqiniso (reissue, 1999), In Harmony (1999), Live at the Royal Albert Hall (DVD/VHS, 1999), Live at the Royal Albert Hall (1999), In Harmony – Live at the Royal Albert Hall (1999), Gospel Songs (2000) and Lihl’ Ixhiba Likagogo (2000).

From 2001 to 2014 Ladysmith Black Mambazo released 45 albums consisting mostly of reissued work from Gallo Archives; Thandani/Umthombo Wamanzi (2001), Favourites (reissue, 2001), The Ultimate Collection (2001), Congratulations South Africa – The Ultimate Collection (2001), Friends In Concert with Lucky Dube and Jabu Khanyile (2002), Ukusindiswa/Umthombo Wamanzi (2002), Chillout Sessions (2002), Wenyukela (2003), Raise Your Spirit Higher [Wenyukela] (Wrasse, 2003), Raise Your Spirit Higher [Wenyukela] (Heads Up, 2004), “The Very Best of – Rain, Rain Beautiful Rain” (2004), No Boundaries with the English Chamber Orchestra (2004), No Boundaries with the English Chamber Orchestra (2005), The Best of (reissue, 2005), Live at Montreux (2005), Live at Montreux (DVD, 2005), Long Walk to Freedom (international, 2006), Long Walk to Freedom (South Africa only, 2006), The Best of – Essential Tribute (2006), The Hits (CD/DVD set, 2006), Phansi Emgodini (reissue, 2006), Ulwandle Olungcwele (reissue, 2006), Ezulwini Siyakhona (reissue, 2006), Thandani (reissue, 2006), Ukusindiswa (reissue, 2006), Ushaka (reissue, 2007), Amabutho (reissue, 2007), Indlela yaseZulwini (reissue, 2007), Imbongi (reissue, 2007), Ezinkulu (reissue, 2007), Intokozo (reissue, 2007), Umama Lo! (reissue, 2007), Isitimela (reissue, 2007), Nqonqotha Mfana (reissue, 2007), Umthombo Wamanzi (reissue, 2007), Ibhayibheli Liyindlela (reissue, 2007), Inkazimulo (reissue, 2007), Amaqhawe (reissue, 2007), Phezulu Emafini (reissue, 2007), Shintsha Sithothobala (reissue, 2007), Inala (reissue, 2007), Ilembe (2007), Ilembe – Our Tribute to King Shaka (international, 2007), Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu (2008), My Dream – African Sounds – with the SABC Choir (2008), Kobuye Kulunge (2010), Songs From A Zulu Farm (2011), Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends (2012), Live: Singing For Peace Around The World (2013) and Always With Us (2014).



Paul Simon and Other International Projects, 1986 – 1988

In 1973 Joseph Mazibuko a master accordion player and former member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo recorded ‘Lamuza Ndoda’ with the Boyoyo Boys.

A cassette tape of Boyoyo Boys Accordion Jive Hits Vol. II was amongst the music that first enticed Paul Simon to use real South African Musicians on his Graceland Album and not just simulate the sound.

In 1985 Paul Simon traveled to South Africa in the hope of collaborating with African musicians for his Graceland album. Paul Simon contacted Joseph Shabalala and conversed with him in person; after much discussion and excitement, the group traveled to London to record with Paul Simon.

The first recording was “Homeless” – the music and chorus were composed by Paul Simon, with Joseph Shabalala composing the Zulu introduction and non-English main body of the song. Ladysmith Black Mambazo also sang on the song “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” and “You Can Call Me Al”.

Paul Simon later brought Ladysmith Black Mambazo to New York City to perform on Saturday Night Live and they performed “Diamonds…” prior to the album or song being released. Graceland was released in late 1986, and although both Joseph Shabalala and Paul Simon were accused of breaking the cultural boycott of South Africa, the album became a huge success and went on to sell 16 million copies while also boosting Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s international image.

Their success also paved the way for other African acts such as Stimela and Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens to gain popularity amongst Western audiences.

Paul Simon later served as producer for Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s first album for the United States release on Warner Brothers Records Shaka Zulu (1987).

That album won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording in 1988. Two more albums were recorded for Warner Brothers Records in the United States; Journey of Dreams (1988) and Two Worlds, One Heart (1990). On the latter album, Ladysmith Black Mambazo recorded with The Winans, Julia Fordham and George Clinton among other popular artists of that time.

The success of  Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s collaboration with Paul Simon on the “Graceland” recording and subsequent concert tours led to a strong touring life for the group that continues to this day.

In 1988 Ladysmith Black Mambazo appeared in Michael Jackson’s movie Moonwalker, where they performed “The Moon Is Walking” (an abridged version of the song “Lindelani”, which appears on Journey of Dreams) over the end credits. Ladysmith Black Mambazo was also featured in the Sesame Street song “Put Down The Duckie” as well as “The African Alphabet”.

Also in 1988 the group sang “Mbube” during the opening sequence of the Eddie Murphy movie Coming to America, but the song was not released on the soundtrack.



Nelson Mandela and Further International Projects, 1993 – 2001

In 1993 Ladysmith Black Mambazo released a celebratory album, Liph’ Iqiniso, following the release of Nelson Mandela from prison after spending 27 years of his life imprisonment sentence.

Shortly after his release from prison Nelson Mandela publicly stated that the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo were “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors”.

In 1993 the group accompanied the then future President of South Africa to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway at the request of Nelson Mandela.

In May 1994 Ladysmith Black Mambazo sang again at President Nelson Mandela‘s inauguration and then later at his birthday celebrations.

In 1996 Ladysmith Black Mambazo appeared on Dolly Parton’s album Treasures, collaborating with Dolly Parton on a cover of Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train”; they joined Dolly Parton for an appearance on a November 1996 U.S. network television special to perform the song.

In 1997, for a run of U.K. television advertisements entitled “Toast for Life” for Heinz soups, baked beans and tomato ketchup, the group recorded an abridged version of “Inkanyezi Nezazi”, “The Star and the Wiseman”.

The adverts proved so popular that the original studio version, recorded in 1992, was released as a single and reached #2 on the UK Pop Charts. The single was followed up by The Best of Ladysmith Black Mambazo – The Star and the Wiseman in 1998, a compilation release which became so popular that it was certified triple platinum, selling 1 million copies in Britain alone.

The Heinz campaign led to a reawakening of the group in Britain, and many television and radio performances beckoned over the next few years, as well as performing for the British royal family.

In 1999 Ladysmith Black Mambazo collaborated with Irish pop group B*Witched on their single I Shall Be There, which hit #13 on the UK Singles Chart. In 2001 the group was referenced in the Family Guy episode Lethal Weapons.

In 2000 a film documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo, titled “On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom”, was released.

In 2001 the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) but lost out to “Big Mama”.

On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom was presented the Best Short Documentary award by the 2001 International Documentary Association.



Sustained Touring, Collaborations and New Material, 2002 – 2013

In 2002 Ladysmith Black Mambazo began preparations for Wenyukela, an album based on new material. However the preparations were disturb in the wake of the murder of Joseph Shabalala’s wife of thirty years  in May of that year – his hand was injured during the shooting while trying to protect his wife. The album went ahead as Joseph Shabalala began to recover.

Wenyukela was  released and it was a success in South Africa, which prompted its release in Britain in March 2003 on Wrasse Records.

In January 2004 following the repeated success of the album, the American-based Heads Up International released the album and it garnered the group their second Grammy Award.

In in January 2004 Long Walk to Freedom, a celebration of 45 years of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was released.

The album,Long Walk to Freedom, earned Ladysmith Black Mambazo their thirteenth Grammy Award nomination.

In April 2006 the group collaborated with Josh Groban for his third studio album, Awake. The songs, “Weeping” and “Lullaby”, featured a clear South African influence; lines from their song, “Wangibambezela” (“Message from his Heart”) were added to the backing track of “Weeping”.

In August 2006 Ladysmith Black Mambazo began working with Mavis Staples in a collaboration for her new album.

The television program Saturday Night Live parodied the group in a TV Funhouse sketch, hosted by Dennis Haysbert, about failed Saturday morning cartoons starring black cartoon characters, one of which was a cartoon featuring the group called, Ladysmith Black Mambazo in Outer Space.

The Members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo added commentary to the short for the DVD release of the SNL special, “The Best of TV Funhouse”.

On October 17, 2006 Ladysmith Black Mambazo performed a sold out concert, at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall, billed Long Walk to Freedom: An Evening with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Friends.

The night included special guest appearances by Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Mahotella Queens, Vusi Mahlasela, and Pete Seeger. The concert was recorded but due to venue restrictions is not being allowed to be released.

Their 2007 album, Ilembe, was released in South Africa on 26 February 2007 and worldwide on 22 January 2008, under the title Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu, on Heads Up International.

In 2008 Ladysmith Black Mambazo won the South African Music Award for Best Traditional A Cappella Album for Ilembe and in 2009 won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album, marking their third Grammy Award.

In January 2011 the group released a recording of original songs, Songs from a Zulu Farm; the album received some of the best reviews in the group’s history, landing in the top five of most “Best World Music Releases” for 2011.

Songs from a Zulu Farm was nominated for a Grammy Award but did not win and it was also nominated for the Best Album of 2011 at the South African Music Awards (SAMA).

In January 2013 Ladysmith Black Mambazo released a new album, Live: Singing for Peace Around the World, which was dedicated to South African icon and former Nelson Mandela.

On December 6, 2013 it was announced that Live: Singing for Peace Around the World has been nominated for the Grammy Award in the Best World Music category – the announcement came the day after the passing of Nelson Mandela.



The Fourth Grammy Award and Recent Projects, 2014 – to date

On January 26, 2014 the Grammy Awards announced Ladysmith Black Mambazo had won Best World Music CD for 2013 with their album, Live: Singing for Peace Around the World – the win marked their fourth Grammy Award and third since 2004.

Also in January 2014 Ladysmith Black Mambazo (LBM) released, Always With Us, as a tribute to Joseph Shabalala’s deceased wife.

In 2014 Ladysmith Black Mambazo was featured on “Lift Me Up”, along with Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz, on David Guetta’s album Listen.





Year Title Record Label Notes
1973 Amabutho Gallo Records Debut Album
1973 Imbongi Gallo Records 2nd Album
1973 Ufakazi Yibheshu ft. Empangeni Home Tigers Gallo Records 3rd Album
1974 Umama Lo! Gallo Records 4th Album
1974 Isitimela Gallo Records 5th Album
1975 Ukukhanya Kwelanga Gallo Records 6th Album
1976 Amaqhawe Gallo Records 7th Album
1977 Ukusindiswa Gallo Records 8th Album
1977 Shintsha Sithothobala Gallo Records 9th Album
1977 Phezulu Emafini Gallo Records 10th Album
1978 Ushaka Gallo Records 11th Album
1978 Indlela yaseZulwini Gallo Records 12th Album
1979 Ezinkulu Gallo Records 12th Album
1980 Intokozo Gallo Records 13th Album
1980 Nqonqotha Mfana Gallo Records 14th Album
1981 Cologne Zulu Festival TV Special Live Album
1981 Ulwandle Olungcwele Gallo Records 15th Album
1981 Phansi Emgodini Gallo Records 16th Album
1982 Umthombo Wamanzi Gallo Records 17th Album
1983 Induku Zethu Gallo Records 18th Album
1984 Ibhayibheli Liyindlela Gallo Records 19th Album
1985 Inkazimulo Gallo Records 20th Album
1985 Inala Gallo Records 21th Album
1986 Ezulwini Siyakhona Gallo Records 22th Album
1987 Shaka Zulu Warner Bros. 23th Album
1987 Thandani Gallo Records 24th Album
1987 Inala Shanachie Reissue
1987 Induku Zethu Shanachie Reissue
1987 Ulwandle Olungcwele Shanachie Reissue
1987 Umthombo Wamanzi Shanachie Reissue
1988 Zibuyinhlazane Gallo Records 25th Album
1988 Journey of Dreams Warner Bros. 26th Album
1990 Izigqi Zendoda Gallo Records 27th Album
1990 Two Worlds, One Heart Warner Bros. 28th Album
1990 Zulu Traditional JVC World Sounds 29th Album
1992 Favourites Gallo Records Compilation Album
1992 Classic Tracks Shanachie Compilation Album
1992 The Best of Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Vol. 1 Shanachie 30th Album
1993 Liph’ Iqiniso Gallo Records 31th Album
1994 Gift Of The Tortoise Gallo Records 32th Album
1995 Zulu Hits Vol. 1 Gallo Records 33th Album
1995 Gospel Hits Vol. 2 Gallo Records 34th Album
1995 Shosholoza with the Team Shosholoza Gallo Records 35th Album
1995 Ukuzala-Ukuzelula with the Mahubo Nesigekle Ladies Choir Gallo Records 36th Album
1996 Thuthukani Ngoxolo Gallo Records 37th Album
1997 Heavenly Gallo Records 38th Album
1997 Heavenly UMTV 38th Album
1997 The Best of Gallo Records VHS, Compilation
1998 Very Best Of – Spirit Of South Africa Nascente Compilation Album
1998 The Best of Ladysmith Black Mambazo – The Star and the Wiseman Gallo Records Compilation Album
1998 The Best of Ladysmith Black Mambazo – The Star and the Wiseman UMTV Compilation Album
1999 Inala Wrasse Reissue
1999 Thuthukani Ngoxolo Wrasse Reissue
1999 Zibuyinhlazane Wrasse Reissue
1999 Liph’ Iqiniso Wrasse Reissue
1999 In Harmony Wrasse 39th Album
1999 Live at the Royal Albert Hall Shanachie DVD, VHS
1999 Live at the Royal Albert Hall Shanachie Live Album
1999 In Harmony – Live at the Royal Albert Hall Wrasse Live Album
2000 Gospel Songs Wrasse 40th Album
2000 Lihl’ Ixhiba Likagogo Gallo Records 41th Album
2001 Thandani/ Umthombo Wamanzi Gallo Archives Compilation Album
2001 Favourites Wrasse Compilation Album
2001 The Ultimate Collection Wrasse Compilation Album
2001 Congratulations South Africa – The Ultimate Collection Wrasse Compilation Album
2002 Friends In Concert with Lucky Dube and Jabu Khanyile Gallo Records Live Album
2002 Ukusindiswa/Umthombo Wamanzi Gallo Archives Compilation Album
2002 Chillout Sessions Wrasse 42nd Album
2003 Wenyukela Gallo Records 43rd Album
2003 Raise Your Spirit Higher (Wenyukela) Wrasse 43rd Album
2003 Raise Your Spirit Higher (Wenyukela) Heads Up/ Gallo 43rd Album
2004 The Very Best of – Rain, Rain Beautiful Rain Wrasse Compilation Album
2004 No Boundaries with the English Chamber Orchestra Heads Up/ Gallo 44th Album
2004 No Boundaries with the English Chamber Orchestra Heads Up/ Gallo 44th Album
2005 The Best of Gallo Records Reissue
2005 Live at Montreux Eagle Records/Red Live Album
2005 Live at Montreux Eagle Records/Red DVD
2006 Long Walk to Freedom Heads Up/ Gallo 45th Album
2006 Long Walk to Freedom (South Africa Only) Gallo Records 45th Album
2006 The Best of – Essential Tribute Budget Compilation Album
2006 The Hits Gallo Records Compilation Album & DVD
2006 Phansi Emgodini Gallo Archives Reissue
2006 Ulwandle Olungcwele Gallo Archives Reissue
2006 Ezulwini Siyakhona Gallo Archives Reissue
2006 Thandani Gallo Archives Reissue
2006 Ukusindiswa Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Ushaka Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Amabutho Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Indlela yaseZulwini Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Imbongi Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Ezinkulu Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Intokozo Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Umama Lo! Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Isitimela Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Nqonqotha Mfana Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Umthombo Wamanzi Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Ibhayibheli Liyindlela Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Inkazimulo Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Amaqhawe Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Phezulu Emafini Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Shintsha Sithothobala Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Inala Gallo Archives Reissue
2007 Ilembe Gallo Records 46th Album
2007 Ilembe – Our Tribute to King Shaka Warner Bros. 46th Album
2008 Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu Heads Up/ Gallo 46th Album
2008 My Dream – African Sounds – with the SABC Choir Gallo Records 47th Album
2010 Kobuye Kulunge Gallo Records 48th Album
2011 Songs From A Zulu Farm Listen 2 Enter. 49th Album
2012 Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends Listen 2 Enter. Live Album
2013 Live: Singing For Peace Around The World LBM Live Album
2014 Always With Us LBM 50th Album





Ladysmith Black Mambazo is one of South Africa’s most, if not the most, internationally recognised music group.

Down the years the group has received thirteen (13) Grammy Award nominations – winning four (4) along the way.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has also been nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy Award.



Awards and Nominations

Year Award Work Category Result
1981 SARIE Award Unknown Best Choral Group on Disc Won
1988 Grammy Award Shaka Zulu Best Traditional Folk Recording Won
1991 Grammy Award Classic Tracks Best Traditional World Music Album Nominated
1993 Grammy Award Best of Vol. 1 Best Traditional World Music Album Nominated
1993 Drama Desk Award The Song of Jacob Zulu (Play) Outstanding Music in a Play Won
1995 Grammy Award Liph’ Iqiniso Best Traditional World Music Album Nominated
1995 Grammy Award Gift of the Tortoise Best Traditional World Music Album Nominated
1996 Drama Desk Award Best Original Music Score Best Original Music Score Won
1996 Grammy Award Thuthukani Ngoxolo Best Traditional World Music Album Nominated
1997 SAMA Award Ukuzala-Ukuzelula Best Zulu Music Album Won
1997 SAMA Award Ukuzala-Ukuzelula Best Duo or Group Award Won
1998 Grammy Award Heavenly Best Contemporary World Music Album Nominated
1999 Grammy Award Live at the Royal Albert Hall Best Traditional World Music Album Nominated
2001 SAMA Award Lihl’ Ixhiba Likagogo Best Zulu Music Album Won
2001 Academy Award On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom Best Short Documentary Film Nominated
2002 Emmy Award On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom Best Cultural Documentary Nominated
2004 Grammy Award Raise Your Spirit Higher Best Traditional World Music Album Won
2006 Grammy Award No Boundaries Best Contemporary World Music Album Nominated
2007 Grammy Award Long Walk to Freedom Best Contemporary World Music Album Nominated
2007 Grammy Award Long Walk to Freedom Best Surround Sound Production Nominated
2008 SAMA Award Ilembe Best Traditional A Cappella Album Won
2009 Grammy Award Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu Best Traditional World Music Album Won
2013 Grammy Award Live: Singing For Peace Around The World Best World Music Album Won




Joseph Shabalala’s Retirement

On January 23, 2008 Joseph Shabalala issued a statement in response to questions about his retirement, the statement read;

“In the early 1960s I had a dream of a type of singing group that I wanted to create. Not just a dream, in the wishful way, but an actual dream while I was asleep. This beautiful dream led to the creation of my group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Now, some forty five plus years later this original dream has led to so many more dreams. We have been awarded Grammy Awards, represented our homeland of South Africa at many prestigious events, including accompanying Nelson Mandela to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, traveled the world so many times and most importantly, spread a message of Peace, Love and Harmony to millions of people.

“This was never a dream a black South African could ever imagine.

“As the years have passed, and the 20th century became the 21st, I started to get asked what will happen to Ladysmith Black Mambazo once I retired, if I ever retired. Well, I have spent much time thinking about this. Ladysmith Black Mambazo was never about one person. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a mission. A mission to spread our message and to keep our culture alive and known. South Africa is a most wonderful place, filled with beautiful people. By touring, as we have, almost seven months every year for over twenty years, we have wanted to keep South Africa alive in people’s hearts.

“Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a family. Within the group I have had brothers and cousins singing together. Over the past fifteen years, because of retirements and death, I have been joined by four of my sons. They are the future of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, our next generation. The mission and message will continue. When the time comes for me to finish touring and to stay home they will carry on my dream. As well, my son Thamsanqa (Tommy) will become the new leader of the group. Thus, the dream I had over forty five years ago will continue well into the 21st century. Ladysmith Black Mambazo must continue as the message of Peace, Love and Harmony never must be silenced. We never will be silenced and we hope our fans and friends around the world will keep wanting to hear this message.

“Ngiyabonga! Thank you!”


In January 2014  reports emerged claiming that Joseph Shabalala was retiring after her did not travel to the United States of America with the rest of the group to attend the Grammy Awards of that years.

However, just days later after the initial reports, the claims were dismissed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s manager Mitch Goldstein.

“Joseph has a bad back and had surgery to help ease the pain. He’s recovering from the surgery and at 73 years we do not want to make him travel around the USA for eight weeks and perform so much.

“He needs rest right now but will return later this year. He was asked if he was retiring and he said right now is his time to sit down and let his sons (who are in Mambazo) lead the group. This was taken to mean he is retiring, but he was only saying for right now he is not performing, Mitch Goldstein was quoted by the SABC Digital News”




In 1980 the brother of Albert Mazibuko, Milton Mazibuko who was an alto voice in the Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was killed.

On December 10, 1991 Joseph Shabalala’s brother, Headman Shabalala who was one of the bass members in the group, was shot and killed by Sean Nicholas, a white off-duty security guard.

In May 2002 Joseph Shabalala’s wife of thirty years and lead singer in the allied group “Women of Mambazo”, Nellie Shabalala, was murdered in a church car park by a masked gunman.

A major, high-profile trial followed, in which Joseph’s son (Nellie Shabalala’s stepson) Nkosinathi Vivian Shabalala was accused of hiring a hitman to kill his stepmother. The trial ended in March 2004 when Nellie Shabalala’s real killer, Mboneni Mdunge, was sentence to life imprisonment.

On June 16, 2004 a retired member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and brother of Joseph Shabalala, Ben Shabalala, was shot while driving in Newlands outside the city of Durban. He was rushed to King Edward VII Hospital where he died later that day.

In February 2006 Jockey Shabalala, the brother of Joseph Shabalala and a member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, died of heart disease.