South Africa: Joseph Shabalala's Walk Under African Skies

Joseph Shabalala, who created the world-famous South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, has died.
analysis

'Joseph's face was black as night, the pale moon shone in his eyes' -- and with that, the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo was introduced to the world through a Paul Simon song.

Joseph Shabalala was written into the song Under African Skies in 1986, when he and his band collaborated with Paul Simon on the album Graceland.

The album went on to be a huge success. It sold more than 16 million copies and it became a cultural icon of the 1980s. For Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, it was their big break. They got noticed by other international artists. It would lead to further collaborations with the likes of Dolly Parton, Josh Groban and Emmylou Harris. There were movie soundtracks and even a Heinz beans ad.

Such fame and accomplishment might have changed some men.

But on 11 February as the tributes began to pour in, as the world learnt of Shabalala's death, one word was used over and over to describe him.

He was humble.

"That's the word that comes to mind. And you know he, very, very much, in his element with his Zulu roots," says filmmaker Anant Singh, who used Ladysmith Black Mambazo's version of...

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