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Sunday, January 6, 2019


Award-winning South African director and storyteller, Phumelelo Mbele aka “SUPA”, and award-winning production company Free Women Films, are set to direct a documentary honouring the Life of Dr Joseph Shabalala, multiple Grammy award winning musician and founding member of the Zulu male choral group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Titled The Untold Story, the documentary seeks to tell the story of the musical journey and lives of the iconic South African musical heros - Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo - showcasing the traditional Zulu music and vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube, from humble beginnings to their acclaimed International success, while focusing on the profound influence that their unique musical style has had on South Africa and generations to come.

“As a director, it is an honour to be given the opportunity to tell the story of this amazing legend Joseph Shabalala, Mshengu. What he and the band Ladysmith Black Mambazo have done is something that we, as a country, still do not comprehend. It is my hope that this film will inform and educate the viewers about the contribution they have played, musically, politically and spiritually in our lives,” said Phumelelo Mbele who directed E-Jackpot, a 45 minute film for MNET.

The filmmakers will work closely with the Dr Joseph Shabalala Foundation and Thoko Shabalala, wife of Dr Joseph Shabalala.  “I am so excited that finally the dream and legacy of Dr Joseph Shabalala will be realised. This project has my blessing and I am looking forward to working with the director, Phumelelo Supa Mbele and Free Women Films” said Thoko Shabalala.

Filming will take place in the world heritage site of the uKhahlamba region of KwaZulu-Natal, where Dr Shabalala was born and lived his whole life. The documentary and series will be made with the support of the KwaZulu-Natal Natal Film Commission.

“As one of the producers, it is a privilege to be associated with this iconic South African musician,” said Judy Nwokedi, Secretary General of the Black Business Council and Executive Producer for Free Women Films “Dr Shabalala’s music is from a genre that displays the profound spirit and gentleness of a musical genius”.