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Ladysmith Black Mambazo Timeline 2008 - present

There had been many questions on when founder, director, composer, and lead singer Joseph Shabalala would finally retire from his group. On January 23, 2008, Shabalala issued a statement on this.

The full statement is reproduced below:

In the early 1960's I had a dream of a type of singing group that I wanted to create. Not just a dream, in the wishful way, but an actual dream while I was asleep. This beautiful dream led to the creation of my group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Now, some forty five plus years later this original dream has led to so many more dreams. We have been awarded Grammy Awards, represented our homeland of South Africa at many prestigious events, including accompanying Nelson Mandela to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, traveled the world so many times and most importantly, spread a message of Peace, Love and Harmony to millions of people.

This was never a dream a black South African could ever imagine.

As the years have passed, and the 20th century became the 21st, I started to get asked what will happen to Ladysmith Black Mambazo once I retired, if I ever retired. Well, I have spent much time thinking about this. Ladysmith Black Mambazo was never about one person. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a mission. A mission to spread our message and to keep our culture alive and known. South Africa is a most wonderful place, filled with beautiful people. By touring, as we have, almost seven months every year for over twenty years, we have wanted to keep South Africa alive in people's hearts.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a family. Within the group I have had brothers and cousins singing together. Over the past fifteen years, because of retirements and death, I have been joined by four of my sons. They are the future of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, our next generation. The mission and message will continue. When the time comes for me to finish touring and to stay home they will carry on my dream. As well, my son Thamsanqa (Tommy) will become the new leader of the group. Thus, the dream I had over forty five years ago will continue well into the 21st century. Ladysmith Black Mambazo must continue as the message of Peace, Love and Harmony never must be silenced. We never will be silenced and we hope our fans and friends around the world will keep wanting to hear this message.

Ngiyabonga! Thank you!

-Joseph Shabalala, January 23 2008

Ladysmith Black Mambazo's 2007 release, Ilembe, garnered success on both sides of the world. In 2008 the group won the SAMA Award for Best Traditional A Cappella Album for Ilembe, and it was announced in November 2008 that the US Surround sound version of the album was nominated for Best Traditional World Music Album in the 2009 Grammy Awards, marking their 13th Grammy nomination.

In September 2008, Mambazo in collaboration with the SABC Choir released My Dream - African Sounds, an album featuring the two choirs performing each other's songs, as well as singing together. Songs included are "Plea for Africa", original Mambazo tunes "Shintsha Sithothobala" and "Angimboni Ofana Naye", as well as new compositions like "Buya Lindiwe" and "Okuhle Hle".