The Town of Ladysmith as a home to legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was formed in 1964. In 1970 they recorded their first four songs: Unomathemba, lsitimela, Sasuk’ emakhaya sithandana, and lsigcino uzosala wedwa weyise kaThoko. Joseph did not even own a record player at the time! But, Ladysmith Black Mambazo was on its way to musical glory. Since then they have released more than 30 albums and have won 4 Grammy Awards!

In June 1997, in recognition of their outstanding international success and immeasurable contribution to the music industry, the Ladysmith/Emnambithi Municipality bestowed the Freedom of the Town upon Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Joseph still dreams of establishing the first Academy for the teaching and preservation of indigenous South African music and culture in South Africa.

lsi cathamiya – the sound of  Ladysmith Black Mambazo

The music sung by Ladysmith Black Mambazo is called isicathamiya. It originated in migrant labour camps. They called themselves the “tip toe guys” – referring to the ‘quiet’ dance steps that did not disturb camp security guards.

It’s been almost 30 years since Paul Simon’s album – Graceland catapulted Ladysmith Black Mambazo onto the international music scene with the famous songs ‘Diamonds on the soles of her shoes’ and ‘Homeless’.