Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be hosting the first annual isiCathamiya Awards, the Cothoza Music Awards (COMAs), on 22 June at The Durban Playhouse. The COMAs will be the culmination of a three-day programme that includes a masterclass on 19 June.

Professor Joseph Shabalala, who founded the internationally acclaimed legends, Ladysmith Black Mambazo 60-years-ago, is very happy that these awards are finally taking place, since it has been his “long time dream for isiCathamiya music to be recognised not only as a national music treasure, but also as a great cultural export”.

Five-time Grammy Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo

“The awards ceremony on 22 June will not only be honouring isiCathamiya artists, it will also be a night
filled with entertaining live performances,” said Albert Mazibuko, who has been in Black Mambazo since it
began.

“The COMAs will honour and acknowledge great contributions made by isiCathamiya groups dating back from the era of Solomon Linda who created the globally known classic “Imbube”, and also acknowledge the current isiCathamiya artists who are the torch bearers of this iconic music genre,” he added.

The slogan for the first-ever COMAs is “Azibuye emasizweni a uzulu” an idiom loosely translated as  “Let’s go back to our roots.” 

Mambazo’s Sibongiseni Shabalala explained, “The COMAs are designed to create a sustainable market for the isiCathamiya music genre and see it getting the media exposure it deserves.”

He hopes the COMAs will also expose the genre to a new audience, and he believes the awards will help achieve “Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s dream of leaving a lasting legacy for our indigenous music”.     

The group’s oldest active member, Mazibuko, said, “Even Ladysmith Black Mambazo have a historic attachment to Durban since its founder started the group  in Durban when we were formerly called Durban Choir, then Ezimnyama before we settled on Ladysmith Black Mambazo.”