5 memorable moments from Joseph Shabalala's funeral

Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala (Photo: Getty Images)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala (Photo: Getty Images)

After battling an extended illness, Joseph Shabalala died on 11 February at the age of 78.

The singer, who founded Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was laid to rest on Saturday 22 February in Ladysmith.

Friends, family, fans, and dignitaries gathered to bid the music icon farewell. 

Here are five standout moments from Joseph Shabalala's beautiful send-off.

1. A note from Dolly Parton

Shabalala had worked with many international stars during his time with Ladysmith Black Mambazo – one of which was Dolly Parton. 

During Shabalala's funeral service, Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, read a letter penned by Dolly Parton

In the note, Parton called working with Shabalala "one of the greatest joys" of her life.

2. Shabalala's grandchildren remember lessons from the music icon

Shabalala was blessed with a large family, which included dozens of grandchildren.

Remembering their grandfather, the children spoke about the lessons they had learned from the singer. These included "respect, love and never giving up on your dreams". 

3. A performance by Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo had everyone on their feet as they performed one last time for Joseph Shabalala.

In one special moment, President Cyril Ramaphosa joined the group on stage to dance along to one of their songs.

4. Lebo M pays tribute to Joseph Shabalala

Well known for his work on Disney's The Lion King, Lebo M took to the stage to pay tribute to Shabalala, calling him a "true giant" and an "international icon".

"There is, in the truest sense, no Lion King music, without the impact and influence of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. From the moment some of us even had a sense of music, we heard everything, but it is the true, authentic nature and South Africaness of Ladysmith Black Mambazo's music that got us to realise the impact and therefore contribute globally also," Lebo M said during his address.

5. President Ramaphosa honours Joseph Shabalala

Delivering the eulogy at Shabalala's funeral, President Ramaphosa made two big announcements. The first, that Shabalala would be honoured posthumously with the gold national Order of Ikhamanga. And secondly, that government would build on the work that Shabalala started with his community by growing his music academy.