A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

music
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

DEATH OF MELISIWE SHABALALA (article first published : 2002-05-16)

Anyone who has met Joseph Shabalala or enjoyed the music of his world famous group Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be horrified to learn of the senseless murder last night (May 15) of his wife Ntombizanele (known as Nellie).

Joseph and Nellie had just drawn up in their vehicle outside their old home in Clermont for a church gathering. Nellie was driving, with Joseph in the passenger seat and two women friends in the back of the car. Apparently, Nellie got out of the car and was reaching inside for her purse when she was approached by a young man who appeared to be wanting to greet her.

Without any warning and saying nothing, he drew out a gun from his jacket pocket and fired a shot at her. Joseph then tried to intervene and the youth fired another shot at Nellie and then ran away. “My father ran after him but something made him return to my mother,” says Sibongiseni Shabalala (29) who is a member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

It was immediately established that Nellie was seriously hurt and Joseph rushed her to the Crompton Hospital in Pinetown where she died shortly afterwards.

Born in King Edward Hospital in 1953, Ntombizanele Shabalala grew up in Amoatana near Inanda. She married Joseph Shabalala in the mid-1970’s and the result of this union was nine children – six boys and three girls. “From childhood we were encouraged to sing in church,” says Sibongiseni

Nellie was always very musical and was a great source of inspiration to Ladysmith Black Mambazo. She had her own ten-member group called Women of Mambazo which achieved a status of its own and often appeared at weddings and major functions. On LBM’s last tour to England, Women of Mambazo went with them and appeared on the same programme.

Of the murderer Sibongiseni says: “It is a mystery. No-one saw him. He didn’t ask her for the keys, or for money. He just shot my mother twice. And he particularly targeted her – as if he had a grudge against her.

“She meant everything to me,” adds Sibongiseni. “In our culture, you don’t go straight to your father, you go through your mother. We had a very good relationship with her. Only last Sunday, I took her a Mother’s Day gift. I waited outside the house to surprise her and give it to her quietly but, as always, she went back inside to tell everyone about it. She would always take a small gesture and turn it into something big and important.”

Since Paul Simon’s Graceland tour and album, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has made major inroads into the international music scene. Music lovers the world over will mourn with Joseph Shabalala over the loss of his wife who was also mother to the group and their inspiration.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart