South African Musician Johnny Clegg Dies After Cancer Battle

South African Musician Johnny Clegg Dies After Cancer Battle

Cape Town - South African music icon Johnny Clegg, who died on Tuesday following a long battle with pancreatic cancer, was writing an autobiography shortly before his death.

In December, Clegg told South African news channel eNCA the "toughest part of my journey will be the next two years" and called himself an "outlier" in an interview that mused about mortality.

Clegg, a Grammy nominee and Billboard music award victor known for his fluent Zulu which he mixed into his traditional folk music known as mbaqanga, was also a vocal critic of the apartheid government that ruled South Africa until 1994.

His song "Asimbonanga" was dedicated to Mandela and released in 1987, when the future first black president of South Africa was still jailed as a threat to the apartheid state.

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

The authorities banned the anthem but it became a national favourite. "And at peace with myself", Mandela said to the audience. "It's all been reconfigured", he told reporters in 2017.

Clegg was born in 1953 in Bacup, near Manchester in England, and moved with his mother to Zimbabwe as a boy and then to South Africa.

"It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world". I travelled to NY with Jesse Clegg, it's just fantastic family. "The migrant workers were themselves immigrants, so we had a similar feeling of marginality in the city".

Known as umZulu omhlope or the white Zulu, Clegg embraced Maskandi music at a time when it was taboo and his resulting body of work is one that brings the country together.

"He was a singer, a songwriter, a dancer, anthropologist whose infectious crossover music exploded onto the global scene and contributed towards social cohesion", the South African government said, calling him "one of South Africa's most celebrated sons".

The family will be holding a Private funeral service and we ask you to please respect the families wishes.

The apartheid-era censorship also restricted where he could perform, yet Clegg "impacted millions of people around the world", Quin said.

"We are dealing with and trying to find workable solutions to nation-building, giving a voice to the poor and uneducated, with AIDS, with unemployment", he said.

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