Headman Shabalala
1948 -

Headman Shabalala was born in 1948 and was a member of the internationally renowned South African vocal group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. He died in 1991, at the age of 44, after being shot by a security guard. He was well known for his unique bass vocals.

Joseph Shabalala, who claimed that he heard the vocal harmonies the group became famous for in a dream, formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 1960. He recruited his brothers, Headman and Joseph, and his cousins Albert and Abednego Mazibuko.

The group received airplay on Radio Zulu, which led to a recording contract with Gallo Records in 1970. Initially their repertoire consisted of traditional folk songs, but when Joseph converted to Christianity in the mid-1970's the group shifted their focus to gospel music. The group achieved international fame when they collaborated with Paul Simon on his Graceland album in 1986. After the passing of Headman, Joseph Shabalala recruited his three sons to Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Shabalala's death, and the three-year sentence his murderer received as punishment, sparked international outrage. When asked what the group would do after the loss Joseph said, “ We will sing. This is what we do”.

Shabalala was buried in Ntabamhlophe, close to Estcourt in KwaZulu Natal.