Jockey Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo Dies

Jockey Shabalala Dies
Brother of Black Mambazo founder and leader

Jockey Shabalala, brother of Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder and leader Joseph Shabalala, passed away on February 11th at his home in South Africa.

His family was with him when he died. Jockey joined Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the 1960s. He had been with the group through the joyous times of Graceland – which won the Grammy Award for album of the year in 1986 – then toured and recorded with the group until early 2005, when Ladysmith Black Mambazo won a second Grammy for their recording Raise Your Spirit Higher.

At that time Jockey decided to retire from international travel to spend more time with family at home. He continued to perform in South Africa with Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Brother, husband, father, uncle and friend to many, Jockey was a person filled with joy. Anyone who came into contact with him left with a smile.

Jockey, age 62, never took for granted the opportunities that came his way by being part of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and took great pride in the work the group had done over the past 40 years.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is in the midst of a concert tour of the United States promoting their latest release, Long Walk to Freedom, which they will continue, as they have done before when tragedy strikes.

“This is what we do,” says Joseph Shabalala. “We must continue to spread our culture and our message of Peace, Love and Harmony. Jockey helped me and the rest of the group on this mission for almost 40 years. As we were performing tonight’s encore song, ‘Amazing Grace,’ I knew he was with us. I could hear his voice, once again, as part of our harmony. I’ll always hear his voice, even as he is now with God.”