Ladysmith Black Mambazo Biography: Age, Net Worth, Albums, Members, Most Famous Songs

June 20, 2024 0 Posted By Princess Tshegofatso


Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a South African male choral group that has brought their unique blend of traditional Zulu music and isicathamiya to the world stage since the 1960s.

Founded by Joseph Shabalala, the group gained international fame after collaborating with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland. Over the course of their career, they’ve won multiple Grammy Awards, an Academy Award nomination, and an Emmy Award.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has played a significant role in promoting and preserving South African music and culture. They have won multiple Grammy Awards and have collaborated with various artists from around the world. Their unique sound and powerful harmonies have captivated audiences globally, making them an iconic representation of South African music.

Early Life & Education

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a South African male choral group, was founded in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala. Born in 1941 in the town of Ladysmith in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa, Joseph grew up in a rural farming community. His ethnicity is Zulu.

The group’s name, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, is a combination of three elements: “Ladysmith” for the town of Joseph’s birth, “Black” representing the black oxen, considered the strongest on the farm, and “Mambazo” meaning “axe” in Zulu, symbolizing the group’s ability to “chop down” the competition.

Joseph initially formed the group with several bass singers, an alto, a tenor, and himself as the lead. The group has seen various members come and go over the years, with Joseph‘s brothers and cousins often joining him. The group comprises a mix of Shabalala’s friends and family members, including his sons and cousins.


Initially, the group comprised Joseph Shabalala, his brothers Headman Shabalala and Enoch Shabalala, cousins Albert Mazibuko, Milton Mazibuko, Funokwakhe Mazibuko, Abednego Mazibuko, and Joseph Mazibuko, along with close friends Matovoti Msimanga and Walter Malinga. Over the past 45 years, more than 30 different members have been part of the group. However, since 1993, only two membership changes have occurred due to retirements.

The group’s current members reside in or near Pinetown, just outside the coastal city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. The chorus includes Joseph Shabalala‘s sons Thamsanqa, Msizi, Thulani, and Sibongiseni; cousins Albert and Abednego Mazibuko; and close friends Russel Mthembu and Ngane Dlamini.


Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a South African male choral group, has enjoyed a career spanning over five decades, filled with numerous successes. The group was founded in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala, who named it after his hometown of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal. Black represents the strength of black oxen, and Mambazo means axe in Zulu, symbolizing the group’s ability to chop down the competition.

The group gained international fame after collaborating with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland, which won a Grammy Award. This collaboration opened the door to a global musical career for Ladysmith Black Mambazo. They have since won multiple Grammy Awards, including Best Traditional World Music Album for Shaka Zulu in 1988, and have received a total of 16 nominations.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has performed for millions of people, spreading a message of peace, love, and harmony. They have toured extensively, performing in various countries worldwide, and collaborated with many renowned artists, including Stevie Wonder and Dolly Parton.

The late former South African President Nelson Mandela designated the group as South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the world. In 2018, they received two Grammy Award nominations for two separate albums, a first in the history of World Music.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has become one of the most successful and influential South African musical groups ever. Their unique style of acapella singing, inspired by Shabalala‘s dreams, has won them multiple awards and global recognition. Despite the tragic loss of founder Joseph Shabalala in 2020, the group continues to spread its message of peace, love, and unity through its music.

As their popularity grew, the group began touring throughout South Africa and eventually internationally, performing in countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They became known for their unique blend of traditional Zulu music, modern influences, and energetic and captivating performances. The group’s success and impact on the music industry in South Africa made them an iconic and influential group in the country’s history.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo saw great success and recognition after releasing their first religious album, Ukukhanya Kwelanga, in 1976. This album, dominated by hymns, earned a double platinum disc award and paved the way for the group to continue incorporating religious material into their repertoire. Their second religious album, Ukusindiswa, was released soon after and quickly became one of their most popular albums, selling double gold discs within three weeks.

Personal Life

The members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo included:

  1. Joseph Shabalala
  2. Sibongiseni Shabalala
  3. Thamsanqa Shabalala
  4. Albert Mazibuko
  5. Russel Mthembu
  6. Thulani Shabalala
  7. Headman Shabalala
  8. Msizi Shabalala
  9. Abednego Mazibuko
  10. Jockey Shabalala
  11. Ben Shabalala
  12. Jabulani Dubazana
  13. Inos Phungula
  14. Milton Mazibuko
  15. Matovoti Msimanga
  16. Walter Malinga
  17. Ngane Dlamini
  18. Joseph Mazibuko
  19. Funokwakhe Mazibuko
  20. Geophrey Mdletshe


  • Shaka Zulu (1987): This album won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording.
  • Journey of Dreams (1988)
  • Two Worlds, One Heart (1990)
  • Best of Ladysmith Black Mambazo (1992): This is a compilation album of their greatest hits.

Net Worth

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a South African male choral group, has built a successful career in the music industry. Their net worth of $7 million is a testament to their talent, hard work, and dedication to their craft.

They have earned this income through various sources such as album sales, concert tours, and merchandise sales. Their success has also led to collaborations with other artists and opportunities for international performances, further boosting their income.

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