The questionnaire

Joseph Shabalala

In 1964, Joseph Shabalala formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo, one of South Africa's most popular vocal choirs. Controversially, they sung on Paul Simon's Graceland album in 1986 during the cultural ban by western nations of South Africa. They have since had hit records worldwide and have just finished a UK tour. Shabalala has nine children, and three houses in the KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
All people living together in peace.

What is your greatest fear?
That the Zulu tradition will disappear.

With which historical figure do you most identify?
Jesus Christ.

Which living person do you most admire?
There are two - Nelson Mandela and Gatsha Buthelezi.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What objects do you always carry with you?
The Bible.

Do you believe in monogamy?
Yes, as a Christian. But different cultures have different ways. Zulus are not required to keep just one wife.

Where would you like to live?
My home is the perfect place for me to live. However, I do love California.

What makes you depressed?
Thinking about all the fighting and killing in this world.

What is your favourite smell?
Cooking in my kitchen after I have been away for a long time.

What is your favourite building?
The Zulu huts in my hometown of Ladysmith.

What, or who, is the greatest love of your life?
There are many. Jesus Christ, my wonderful wife, Nellie, my children and their children, my culture and tradition.

What is your greatest regret?
It would be if I didn't do enough to keep my Zulu culture alive. But I'm hoping that I will not have such a regret.

How do you relax?
I write new songs or read my Bible.

What would your motto be?
Love each other, respect each other, help each other.

What keeps you awake at night?
On tour, it's usually the sound of the bus driving us to the next city.

Do you believe in life after death?
There is certainly a heaven that we go to after we die.

How would you like to be remembered?
First as a good Christian, and second as a Zulu. I also hope that people will say, 'Shabalala was a man who spoke of peace. He tried to make people throw away the hatred that divides people and pushes away happiness.'


Compiled by Rosanna Greenstreet

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