LEGENDARY musician, leader and founder of the multi-Grammy-award winning vocal group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Durban University of Technology on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at Steve Biko Campus’s Fred Crookes Sports Centre.
Shabalala was bestowed with the Honorary Doctorate during the Faculty of Arts and Design’s graduation ceremony for his contribution to the arts in South Africa and abroad.
The ceremony was the 16th graduation ceremony to take place out of a total of 18 that were held in April 2015.
On receiving his honorary doctorate, Shabalala was joined on stage by his sons and other members of the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo for a performance of their classic, Homeless which brought the crowd to their feet.
Shabalala’s journey into the music industry began at the age of 12 and in 1964 he formed the legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a traditional Zulu choral music that was derived from the singing of South African gold miners during apartheid.
Last year the a cappella vocal group celebrated over fifty years in the music business which saw its 74-year-old founder retiring from performing.
In 1993 the group accompanied former President Nelson Mandela to Oslo, Norway where he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. When the late Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the country’s first black President, he asked them to perform at the celebration.
The group has collaborated with many local and international artists, including Paul Simon, Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson, Hugh Masekela, and Josh Groban.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo has won multiple awards, including four Grammy Awards.
They have become a mobile academy, teaching people about South Africa and its culture, performing all over the world.
A total of 18 Doctor of Technology degrees, 63 Master of Technology degrees, 2289 Bachelor of Technology degrees, 3322 National Diplomas and 54 Certificates were conferred to graduates at the ceremonies. 569 out of the 5405 students who graduated during the April 2015 Graduation season were from the University’s Faculty of Arts and Design.
– Andile Dube