Grammy-award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo have finally got the groups together that will join them on an international tour in October.
The group traveled around SA in search of prospective groups to prepare for international recognition, and to fulfill the dream of the band’s founder.
The evolution program, according to member Sibongiseni Shabalala, was one of the late Joseph Shabalala’s many plans: he wanted to open doors for other local acts to steer the international platforms just like they have done for 58 years now.
“My father’s dream, when he founded Mambazo, was to develop people and also take traditional music and South African culture abroad, the music that we are singing. That first part has been realized, as the group has won three Grammy awards while showcasing South Africa’s tradition internationally.
“My father’s other dream was to develop musicians through a music school and that is what we are doing now through the Ladysmith Black Mambazo Mobile Academy program. We have selected nine groups that we are busy recording and developing to be the next best international acts that can also win Grammys,” said Shabalala.
The groups were found during Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s national competition tour in 2018.
Two of these, The Good Fellas from Rustenburg, North West, and Meduduwetsane Basadi (which means ululating) from Kimberley, Northern Cape, will be traveling with Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the UK in October.
Before this trip, the groups will perform with Ladysmith Black Mambazo at The Joburg Theatre on Mandela Day to pay tribute to late statesman Nelson Mandela.
The founder of the five-member women group Meduduwetsane Basadi, Pulane Jantjies, said getting the chance to travel overseas was a dream come true as many of them had never left Mzansi.
“When I founded the group [six years ago], it was because I wanted to give women a chance in this male-dominated industry… In Kimberley, women are not always given a platform to express themselves.
“The work that we have been doing on the ground, I never thought we could reach such levels,” she said.
Tshepo Matela from The Good Fellas said: “When we started, we wanted to create a band that travels as much as they do and encourages people with their music as they do.
“Our name, Good Fellas, speaks to the good that we want to achieve within our community.”
Matela said drugs and alcohol had invaded Rustenburg and that they try to bring hope through their music.
“We are learning from Mambazo and we will come back and give back as they have given back to us.”