Five-time Grammy Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be hosting the first annual isicathamiya awards, the Cothoza Music Awards (COMAs), on the 22nd of June 2019 at The Durban Playhouse.

The COMAs will be the culmination of a three-day programme at The Durban Playhouse that includes a masterclass on the 19th of June and the Cothoza Music Concert  on the 20th of 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.”

The awards ceremony on 22 June, will not only be honouring isicathamiya artists, it will also be a night filled with entertaining live performances. Says Albert Mazibuko, who has been in Ladysmith Black Mambazo since it began, says “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. The slogan for the first-ever COMAs is “Azibuye emasizweni a uzulu” an idiom loosely translated as  “Let’s go back to our roots.” Tickets for the COMAs on the 22nd of June at The Playhouse are R150 at Ticketweb.  

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s Sibongiseni Shabalala explains, “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.”     Award recipients shall be honoured with special awards to recognise their contribution towards the upliftment of isicathamiya music: 
The Ingqwele Award:The Playhouse Company Alexius ButheleziPaulos Msimango

The Professor Joseph Shabalala Ingqalabutho Award: Milton MazibukoHerdman ShabalalaVictor Mkhize – Colenso Abafana Benkokhelo King Star BrothersDlamini Home DefendersNewcastle Five RosesEasy Walkers  Xolo Home Boys


The Solomon Linda Award: Solomon Linda


The Imbokodo Award: Afrika MamasThe COMAs, the concert and masterclass are part of Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo (LBM) Mobile Academy Programme. “This programme aims to revive and develop isicathamiya music by developing new groups and propelling established music groups who want to take their music to greater heights.” Says Sibongiseni Shabalala. Through this programme, Ladysmith Black Mambazo runs master classes across the country and also discovers and develops isicathamiya and indigenous music talent. Shabalala explains that “The LBM Mobile Academy Programme tours the length and breadth of the country visiting arts centres, schools, organised arts formations and music students in universities.” 

The Cothoza Masterclass will start at 10:00am on the 19th of June 2019 at The Playhouse. The Masterclass will explore the evolution of isicathamiya music under the theme “Evolution of Isicathamiya-The Past, The Present and The Future” through stimulating healthy debate among industry stakeholders like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, radio compilers from Ukhozi FM, the University of Fort Hare’s Nduduzo Makhathini, KUMISA – Continuous Artists’s Mr Thando Nyameni and others. People who want to register  for the masterclass can call Mbali Khanyile  031 8251885 .Tickets for the Cothoza Music Concert headlined by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and featuring a number of acts on the 20th of June at 19:00 at The Playhouse cost R150.00 at Ticketweb. 

This three-day event from 19 to 22 June is a rare moment for South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo fans to interact with the legends and experience a full, live uninterrupted  performance by this world renowned group who spend most of their time touring the World.  It will be hosted in the beautiful city of Durban because of its historic significance and pivotal role in hosting competitions and concerts of isicathamiya over the years. The city became a hub of showcasing isicathamiya music at YMCAs and other hostel and community venues around Durban many decades ago. The group’s oldest active member, Mazibuko, says: “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.”