President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his deep sadness at the passing of Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala.
"The passing of Joseph Shabalala is a terribly sad moment for a nation and a world in whose ears the isicathamiya and mbube crafted by Ladysmith Black Mambazo will ring for generations to come," said President Ramaphosa.
Shabalala passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 78, following illness.
President Ramaphosa offered his deep condolences to the family and friends of the veteran choral maestro as well as the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo which has, as a group, been in existence for six decades.
Shabalala's passing comes as the world marks the 30th anniversary of the late icon and statesman Nelson Mandela's release from prison.
"Today the spirit of Joseph Shabalala is united with that of our great leader, Nelson Mandela, whose release from prison we are commemorating.
"Madiba was a loyal follower of Ladysmith Black Mambazo who had the distinction of being part of the cultural programme at the Nobel ceremony where our Founding President was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize," said the President.
The President said Ladysmith Black Mambazo richly deserved the National Order of Ikhamanga which the choral group was awarded in October 2008.
"The inspirational leadership and passion of Joseph Shabalala ensured that Ladysmith Black Mambazo filled the hearts of humanity with their joyfulness, sadness and poignancy - from the villages and towns of their origins in KwaZulu-Natal, to the far corners of the earth.
"The acclaim which has earned the group recognition and countless awards at home and abroad is evidence of the ability of Joseph Shabalala and his group were able to touch and unite people around the country and globally," said the President.