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Asimbonanga Hit Song Maker Johnny Clegg Dies

Johnny Clegg, South African musician and activist, dies aged 66

One of South Africa’s most celebrated musicians, Johnny Clegg, has died at the age of 66, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Known as the “white Zulu”, he was a vocal critic of the apartheid government which ruled until 1994.

The British-born musician, who uniquely blended western and Zulu music, was diagnosed with cancer in 2015.

His best known hit Asimbonanga, released in 1987, was dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

Meaning “We have not seen him” in Zulu, the song was one of the first to openly call for Mandela’s release.

At the time, the future first black president of South Africa was still in jail and considered a threat to the apartheid state.

Clegg – a white man who learnt to speak and sing in Zulu – became a symbol of democratic South Africa and was chosen to sing at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in 2013.

His long-time music manager, Ronny Quinn, who announced the news of his death, said Clegg left “deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers himself or herself to be an African”.

“He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity.”

Tributes have been pouring in for Clegg, including from the South African government.

Clegg broke the law to play with black musicians back in the era of racial apartheid, when such mingling was banned, says the BBC’s Andrew Harding in Johannesburg.

He and his hybrid music were a powerful rebuke to the white-minority government, and a reminder that apartheid was a political choice that could be swept away, our correspondent adds.

Clegg began his career 40 years ago with Juluka, a mixed-race band, which he formed with the black guitarist, Sipho Mchunu.

At that time, much of his music was banned from the airwaves and his public performances were limited until apartheid ended in 1994.

“We had to find our way around a myriad of laws that prevented us from mixing across racial lines,” he told AFP news agency in 2017.

 

(Credit: BBC)

19 Comments

  1. SEE MIND ( Mwampo)

    CONDOLENCES, MHSRIP.BUT MUSIC REMAINS STILL FRESH TO REMEMBERED HIM !!!

  2. Saimbwende

    Go well Cleggy a pure human being may your unbiased gentle soul rest in eternal peace white Zulu

  3. Steven Banda

    Farewell WHITE ZULU. You shook the air waves with WOZA FRIDAY,ASIMBONANGA etc. You cut across racial lines with your free interactions in abused Black communities.You where more ZULU than most. Zambian bands like SUPER VINA used to play your copywrites to perfection. We will for long remember your unifying music.Go well Johnny Clegg. Go well White ZULU.

  4. Gangsta grabs

    This pains me good people gone while this kachasu jemarson mixer and corruption apartheid of a president be gone hah! Please Cleg stop by plot 1 and overdose him with shots and take him with you.

  5. Lk

    Most of the time about 20℅ of your reports are stolen from the BBC news without giving them any credit. This is so cheap of you ba mwabantu and must come to an end unprofessional indeed

  6. James

    the greatest man of them

  7. Kennedy Simwinga

    Comment Go well White Zulu you are a true hero, despite being critised apartheid regime you still stood tall to help bring equality to human race go well White Zulu

  8. muntungwa

    Avery admirable person. Go well White Zulu we shall surely miss you. MYSRIEP.

  9. Mweemba Nwoosu Knowledge

    We shall surely miss you Jonny Cleggy , may your soul rest in holy peace.

  10. Mushemi

    Go well my mentor, we shall meet on the other side of the world…. Shaloom Shaloom.

  11. One love

    RIP white zuru

  12. Moira

    Rest in peace! You will be greatly missed!

  13. Shikantwa

    Great son of Africa. I went to school with him when he was in exile in Lusaka, Zambia.

  14. John Simukonda

    True son of God who wanted justice, for all south africans. That included where ever apartheid, was practiced. Go well Cleggy you will be remembered.

  15. Mk Ohmn Lex

    Goodbye my friend… Rest in peace

  16. prophet Melchizedek chiyosha

    MHSRIEP

  17. Vitwa

    RIP

  18. The elders

    Comment:The lion of Africa has gone may his soul rest in peace

  19. Joe 18

    R I p while Zulu

Comments are closed.