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Ladysmith Black Mambazo Timeline

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was formed in 1964 by Joseph Shabalala due to a series of dreams he had, in which he heard certain isicathamiya harmonies (isicathamiya is the traditional music of the Zulu people). Following their success at various local wedding ceremonies, Shabalala entered the young group into isicathamiya competitions. The group were described as 'so good' that they were eventually forbidden to enter the competitions.

Although they had only been formally recognised as an isicathamiya group in 1964, they had in fact been singing together since the early 1950s. They released their first album, Amabutho, in 1973. Their big breakthrough came in 1986 when they collaborated with Paul Simon, paving the way for international releases, making them widely known across the world.

Below is a timeline outlining some of the major parts of the group's history.