The founder of celebrated South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has retired from touring. Joseph Shabalala, who formed the Grammy-winning act in 1960, will scale back his duties after more than 50 years at the helm.
The 72 year old will not appear on an upcoming three-month U.S. trek, set to start on 24 January (14).
The group's manager Xolani Majozi says, "Because of his age we want him to relax a bit, not to be involved in intensive tours. He can still perform, but we don't want to overwork him. We think he has done his part."
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is one of South Africa's most successful recording acts and shot to international fame after appearing on Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland. They have since won three Grammys and performed at a memorial concert in honour of civil rights icon Nelson Mandela in Cape Town last month (Dec13).
Annie Lennox took to the stage for a special performance at a memorial concert in honour of Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday (11Dec13). The former Eurythmics star was a last-minute addition to the line-up for the Nelson Mandela: A Life Celebrated event at The Cape Town Stadium, and she performed a spoken word piece with a bongo drum.
During her time on stage, Lennox praised Mandela for his charity work and urged the audience to back the ongoing fight against AIDS, chanting, "Protect yourself, safe sex!... Where's Madiba (Mandela)? He's with us!"
Lennox, who was in South Africa for an AIDS conference at the time of Mandela's death on 5 December (13), was previously involved with his 46664 campaign, which he used to raise awareness of the disease through high-profile concerts.
The Cape Town memorial show also included performances from musician Johnny Clegg and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, along with a speech by South African rugby hero Francois Pienaar.
Pienaar was played by Matt Damon in 2009 film Invictus, which focused on Mandela and the political changes in the country in the aftermath of apartheid as the nation hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Civil rights icon and former South African leader Mandela died on 5 December (13) at the age of 95.
South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo have penned a touching tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday (05Dec13). The Grammy-winning singers, who famously sang on Paul Simon's Graceland album, have honoured the fallen civil rights leader just hours after his passing.
The members took to their Facebook.com page and wrote, "The Father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, has finished his journey. One wants to think in terms of big words when describing him, but this would not be right. Among the many things one can say about our Madiba (Mandela's tribal name) is that he never thought of himself as big.
"He was one of us, one of the people. His journey was our journey. And although he has physically left us now, his journey continues within us all.
"Now, it's left for all of us to carry on his mission. We must continue the journey of making not just South Africa, but the whole world, a peaceful, forgiving place. If we all keep Mandela's way within us, we can achieve greatness. As we continue to spread the message of Peace, Love and Harmony, we re-dedicate ourselves to Mandela and his dream of a Rainbow Nation, a Rainbow World, in fact. May his journey continue in the soul and spirits of all who were touched by him."
Ladysmith Black Mambazo originated in the 1960s, and were called upon by Mandela to sing at his Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 1993, as well as perform at his presidential inauguration the following year (94).