Hamba Kahle White Zulu – Rest in Peace Johnny Clegg
Written by Eldos FM on July 16, 2019
South African Music & Cultural Icon Johnny Clegg (born Jonathan Clegg) OBE OIS who was born on 7 June 1953 in Bacup, Lancashire England and grew up in Johannesburg since the age of seven, has passed away today 16 July 2019.
The 66 year old musician passed away in his Johannesburg home after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
A musician and anthropologist, Johnny was first called Le Zoulou Blanc (“The White Zulu”) in France.
Johnny is rightly considered one of the most important figures in South African popular music history.
During the dark days of Apartheid, the Music of Johnny Clegg with the band Juluka and later Savuka was part of the staple of what kept hope alive for the dawning of a new democratic dispensation.
Clegg rose to prominence in the United States in the 1980s with his bands Juluka and Savuka. He was one of the few South African musicians whose albums made it to the Billboard 200 Albums chart.
Songs for the silver screen
In 1983, his song Scatterlings of Africa reached number 44 in the UK Singles Chart. The song was featured in the Oscar-winning film Rain Man – starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise – the following year.
Other songs to make it to the silver screen included Savuka’s Dela, which was featured on the soundtrack of the 1997 film George of the Jungle and its sequel six year later.
In addition, Great Heart was featured in the 1986 film Jock of the Bushveld, while Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World was included in the soundtracks for Opportunity Knocks and Career Opportunities.
WATCH Johnny Clegg – Great Heart
As an adolescent, Johnny developed an interest in Celtic music, which led to him learning about and performing Zulu street music and taking part in traditional Zulu dance competitions. He was arrested at the age of 15 for violating apartheid-era laws for congregating with Zulu men after curfew hours.
At the age of 17, Johnny met Sipho Mchunu, a Zulu migrant worker with whom he began performing music and formed a partnership, which they named Juluka.
As a young man, in the early stages of his musical career, Johnny combined his music with the study of anthropology, and after obtaining his degree, Johnny taught anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Johnny was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres (Knight of Arts and Letters) by the French Government in 1991.
In 2007, Johnny received an honorary doctorate in music from the University of the Witwatersrand.
In 2011, Johnny received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from City University of New York School of Law.
In 2012, Johnny received the South African Presidential Ikhamanga award as part of the National Orders ceremony. This award is the highest honour a citizen can receive in South Africa.
In 2012, Johnny received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA.
In 2013, Johnny received an honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and in 2015, Johnny was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
We at Eldos FM extend our sincerest Condolences to the family and friends of Johnny Clegg.
Rest in Peace White Zulu.