Former Ladysmith Black Mambazo member Ben Shabalala was killed June 16 in a suburb of Durban, South Africa, under unknown circumstances. He was in his late 40s.
Shabalala, a singer, was the brother of the band’s founder and leader, Joseph Shabalala. Ben Shabalala joined Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 1979 and was part of the group when it participated in Paul Simon’s “Graceland” recording, which won a Grammy for album of the year in 1986, and tour. Ladysmith Black Mambazo also won a Grammy in 1987 for the album “Shaka Zulu,” on which Shabalala collaborated. He retired from the group in 1993.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is currently on tour, promoting their latest album, “Raise Your Spirit Higher” (Heads Up). The tour will continue in honor of Ben Shabalala’s memory.