Raise Your Spirit Higher

Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Heads Up.

They’ve been heard on everything from Paul Simon’s Graceland to TV candy commercials,
but Ladysmith Black Mambazo fare best singing for themselves. Led by Joseph Shabalala,
this 10-man South African ensemble specializes in radiant and soothing a cappella harmonies.
Though they sing mostly in Zulu, with English interludes, there’s no mistaking Ladysmith’s upbeat
mission, whether celebrating racial harmony in “Black Is Beautiful” or promoting seatbelt usage
in “Fak’ Ibhande.” While the exuberant call-and-response dynamics recall American gospel, Shabalala’s
tunes never lose their local flavor, down to a jovial invitation to invest in Africa (“Selingelethu
Sonke”). During apartheid, Ladysmith embodied patient, unbending resistance; today,
they’re the sound of pure joy.



Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.