South African Music Legend Johnny Clegg Dies at Age 66

Condolences to Family and Friends of Johnny Clegg -one of South Africa’s most celebrated sons. He was a singer, a songwriter, a dancer, anthropologist whose infectious crossover music exploded onto the international scene and contributed towards social cohesion.

Clegg was born on 7 June 1953 in Bacup, Lancashire, in England and moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, with his Rhodesian mother when he was six years old.

His exposure to Zulu migrant workers during adolescence introduced him to the culture and music. His involvement with black musicians often saw him arrested during apartheid. At the age of 17, together with Sipho Mchunu, he formed a band called Juluka. At the age of 33 in 1986, during the height of apartheid, he partnered with Dudu Zulu to form his second inter-racial band called Savuka.



Clegg also recorded several solo albums and enjoyed international success, selling out concerts wherever he performed.

Apart from lecturing at the universities of the Witwatersrand and Natal, Clegg studied anthropology and combined his studies with music.

He has been awarded by a number of local and international bodies for his contribution to music and society notably by the French Government in 1991 with a Knight of Arts and Letters, and in 2015 he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. In 2012 he received the Order of Ikhamanga from the South African government. He was also awarded a number of honorary doctorates.

Johnny Clegg authored and published the book UkuBuyisa Isidumbu and presented papers on The Music of Zulu Immigrant Workers in Johannesburg in 1981 at the Grahamstown International Library of African Music and Towards an understanding of African Dance: The Zulu Isishameni Style in 1982 at Rhodes University.

 

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