UFH to preserve the illustrious history of Ladysmith Black Mambazo

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On 11 December two historical institutions – the University of Fort Hare and Ladysmith Black Mambazo (LBM) made history together when they signed a memorandum of understanding that seeks to preserve the illustrious history of the multi-Grammy-award-winning Isicathamiya music group.

The MOU was signed during the inaugural Memorial Lecture of the late Prof Joseph Shabalala –founder of the music group.

The lecture was delivered by Dr Sipho Sithole who is a renowned award-winning Music Producer and Cultural Practitioner. Hosted at the University’s Miriam Makeba Arts Centre on the East London Campus, the event is a collaborative effort between the University and LBM Mobile Academy.

The signing of the MOU sealed the longstanding relationship between LBM and the UFH Music Department which dates back to 2018 when the group visited the department and recorded a song with the then students.

According to the agreement, the parties (LBM and UFH) recognized that their rich histories make them ideal partners to collaborate on a long-term initiative that seeks to preserve the illustrious history of LBM by:

  • Providing an academic platform for research;
  • Developing learning and community outreach programmes and;
  • Promoting musical collaborations and further promote the parties’ unique stature in their respective fields.


The MOU further states that the parties will work jointly to develop, through the Steering Committee, a proposal for the archiving of LBM materials. The materials for the LBM Collection will include but not be limited to: music (published and unpublished), videos, arrangements, lyrics, correspondence relating to LBM work and processes, recordings of concerts, public appearance dress (worn and unworn), appearances, recorded preparations (whether for performances, for recording, practice sessions, etc.), and any other material that can serve on the learning platform to be hosted by the University.

Speaking at the event, the VC Prof Sakhela Buhlungu said: “It makes perfect sense for the two institutions to come together. These are two resilient institutions that have played a leading role in developing black people in this country. We have done it for 105 years, they have done it for 61 years. It stands to reason why we should come together and reflect on our histories”

 “You cannot tell the full story of this country without talking about this great institution of ours. On a different territory, you cannot tell the story of South African music without talking about Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The MOU is recognition that we belong together, having each experienced building organizations, made them last and passed them on to the next generation.”

Mr Xolani Majozi, LBM Manager and the Academy Director said the group was grateful to the university for opening its doors to work with its Music Students back in 2018.

“Prof Shabalala had a vision to develop talent around the country. He felt that the rich history of the group needed to be imparted to the younger generation and it was important to sow a seed of pride and preservation of indigenous music and our heritage through music.  In 2018 we launched the LBM Mobile Academy here at the University and that was the beginning of several conversations that led to this day.”

“We are grateful that LBM history will now be preserved here at UFH for current and future generations to access it,” said Majozi.

WATCH THE LECTURE HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpUc6TUBw8k


By Aretha Linden