The England-born Grammy Award nominee was one of the most celebrated voices in modern South African music and an outspoken opponent of the government at the height of Apartheid.
World music superstar Johnny Clegg has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
The South African musician died on Tuesday (July 16), four years after he was diagnosed with the disease. He was 66.
The Grammy Award nominee was renowned for his Zulu folk music, known as mbaqanga, and as the leader of the bands Juluka and Savuka, he became one of the most celebrated voices in modern South African music.
He was also an outspoken opponent of the South African government at the height of Apartheid, and his 1987 song “Asimbonanga”, which he wrote for Nelson Mandela, became his homeland’s unofficial national anthem. Following his release from prison, Mandela danced with Clegg to the song onstage at a Savuka show.
Born in England, Clegg travelled around Africa with his mother, a jazz musician, until they settled in Johannesburg. Before he found fame as a musician, he served as a professor of anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Last year (18), Clegg’s musician friends, including Dave Matthews, Peter Gabriel and Mike Rutherford put together a charity single to honour the singer. Proceeds benefited primary school education in South Africa.