Cape Town — The five-time Grammy-award winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has lost its founder Joseph Shabalala.
He passed away at the age of 78.
Shabalala is best known for forming and directing the world-famous South African choral group.
He named the group after his hometown, Ladysmith. The black refers to "oxen", the strongest of all farm animals, and Mambazo is a Zulu word for "axe" - symbolic of the choir's ability to "chop down" the competition.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is known for their vocal harmonies and their traditional Zulu dances, and have won five Grammy Awards.
The legendary group has sold millions of albums worldwide, and collaborated with music icons such as Paul Simon, Michael Jackson and Dolly Parton.
The band has paid tribute to the musician in a tweet, saying: "Bhekizizwe Joseph Shabalala Our Founder, our Teacher and most importantly, our Father left us today for eternal peace. 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."