Ladysmith Black Mambazo Timeline 2002 - 2006
As a follow-up to the release Lihl' Ixhiba Likagogo in 2000, the group began preparations for Wenyukela, another album of new material, in 2002. However, the making of the record underwent severe strain when, in May 2002, Shabalala's wife Nellie of thirty years (and lead singer in the allied group "Women of Mambazo"), was murdered in a church car park by a masked gunman. Shabalala's hand was injured trying to protect his wife. Joseph's son Vivian Nkosinathi was accused of hiring a hitman to murder his stepmother Nellie. During the court trial, Nkosinathi supposedly testified that the South African police offered some kind of reprieve if he would implicate his own father, Joseph, in the murder.
Wenyukela, however, went ahead, as Shabalala began to recover. Songs such as "Wenza Ngani?" ("How Did You Do That?") had a moral theme, such as racism. Others included "Fak' Ibhande" ("Don't Drink and Drive"), which warned of the dangers of alcohol and driving; "Wenyukela", which spoke of the resurrection of Jesus and how South Africans were nearly misled into killing each other during the 1994 elections; and "Selingelethu Sonke", a song asking for fair trade in Africa. The group had originally spoken of the issue of fair trade in the Oxfam campaign Make Trade Fair. They appeared as guests in "The Big Noise", a worldwide petition for fair trade.
The success of Wenyukela in South Africa prompted its release in Britain in March 2003 on Wrasse Records. Following the repeated success of the album, the American-based Headsup International released the album in January 2004. In addition to the standard version, Headsup released the album in the Hybrid SACD format. The US release reportedly went platinum and it garnered the group their second Grammy Award. They also embarked on a three month tour of the United States.
The group returned to Headsup with their 2005 release, No Boundaries, a collaboration with the English Chamber Orchestra which featured many classical standards (Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Ave Verum Corpus) and Mambazo tunes (Homeless, Awu, Wemadoda, Ngingenwe Emoyeni). Despite initial worry about merging European traditions and Zulu folklore, the album sold very well and was nominated for a Grammy Award.