After a long battle with kidney disease, Nobesuthu Gertrude Mbadu, founding member of the South African ladies band Mahotella Queens, passed away yesterday. She was 76.
Born in April 1945, Nobesuthu’s musical journey began when she was in primary. Back then, she was part of a Zulu band called Amangeyami. During one of the group’s performances, she was invited by Rupert Bopape to join a group called “Mahotella Queen.”
At the time, she was just 19. She accepted the offer, joining the likes of Amanda Nkosi and Hilda Tloubatla to form what would become one of the most respected mbaqanga groups in South Africa.
In the 1960s and 1970, the group was probably the most active in South Africa, with several exiting numbers to its name. Among the notable releases from the group are “Uyavutha Umlilo,” “Gazette (Kazet),” and “Melodi Ya Lla.”
The news of her death provoked mourning across South Africa. Those who are familiar with her and her group have taken to social media to share their condolences as well as the impact she and the group had on their lives.
Got some kind words to share with Nobesuthu’s family? You’re welcome to drop them in the comment section below. Way to go!