Thamsanqa Shabalala

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Thamsanqa Shabalala
Born 1977 (age 37–38)
Years active 1993–present
Associated acts Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Shabalala Rhythm

Thamsanqa Shabalala (born 1977) is a member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo,[1][2] a South African choral group founded in 1960 by his father Joseph. He will replace Joseph as the group's lead singer after his father's retirement (see main article for more information).

Thamsanqa was born in Ladysmith (eMnambithi district) to Joseph and his late wife Nellie. In 1976, Joseph brought together his six sons to form Mshengu White Mambazo, Ladysmith's 'junior choir'.

After the murder of his uncle Headman Shabalala in December 1991 and the retirement of several other members (Inos Phungula, Geophrey Mdletshe and Ben Shabalala), Joseph later recruited Thamsanqa and his brothers Sibongiseni, Thulani and Msizi. Thamsanqa began singing with the group as an alto voice (alongside Albert Mazibuko, who is a tenor voice) and has remained in the line-up since 1993.

Together with his brother Sibongiseni and a well-known South African guitarist, Maqhinga Radebe, Thamsanqa formed the maskandi-mbaqanga-isicathamiya crossover band Shabalala Rhythm in 1998, which has released successful releases to date including Ubuhle Bakho (2003), Vuma (2005), and Izingqaku (2007).

It was announced by Joseph Shabalala in January 2008 that when the time comes for him to retire, Thamsanqa will take his father's place as leader of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.


  1. ^ "Musicians with a mission". BBC News. 28 April 2001. 
  2. ^ Mojapelo, Max (2009-03-18). Beyond Memory: Recording the History, Moments and Memories of South African Music. African Minds. pp. 305–. ISBN 978-1-920299-28-6. Retrieved 25 May 2011.