By Nomali Cele
Legendary musician, composer and conductor, Dr Joseph Shabalala will be laid to rest in an official funeral. Ever since Shabalala passed away on 11 February, the public has been curious about the details and logistics of his funeral. With his work in Ladysmith Black Mambazo, it has been expected that Dr Shabalala would get a sendoff befitting a national hero.
This week, the Presidency announced that Dr Shabalala would be getting a Special Official Funeral on 22 February 2020. President Ramaphosa announced the Category 2 Special Official Funeral and has ordered that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country until the evening of 22 February 2020.
Category 2 Special Official Funerals are, according to the State, Official and Provincial official policy document, are for “Distinguished persons specifically designated by the President of the Republic of South Africa”. These official funerals also feature elements of police ceremonial honours.
In 1960, young Shabalala founded a musical group, which came to him like a calling. From then on, they went on to make history and leave an unmistakable mark on the South African sound. Ladysmith Black Mambazo has contributed to how the world hears us, even to this day.
Writing on the official band Twitter account, AmaMbazo wrote, “We celebrate and honour your kind heart and your extraordinary life. Through your music and the millions who you came in contact with, you shall live forever.”
Dr Joseph Shabalala’s funeral will be held at AG Magubane Stadium in Ladysmith and will be broadcast nationally.