The South African musician Johnny Clegg, nicknamed “Zulu white” died Tuesday, July 17, 2019 at the age of 66 years. He was floored by a damn pancreatic cancer. A committed musician, he was an emblematic figure in the fight against apartheid. He embodied in his songs the resistance to apartheid. He has long worked for forgiveness and national reconciliation.
Indeed, Nelson Mandela’s Rainbow Nation has just lost an inescapable icon in the fight against white domination. Through his art, Johnny Clegg embodied a mixture of melody combining Zulu rhythms with Western pop.
Songwriter Johnny Clegg was born in 1953 in the United Kingdom to a British father and a Zimbabwean mother. He arrived in South Africa at the age of 7, where the white minority reigned supreme over the black majority. He was introduced to local cultures by his father-in-law who was a journalist. He explained that his rejection of apartheid was not political.
Thus Johnny Clegg had marked a whole generation of his musical generosity. The international artist, defender of human rights represented a symbol in this South African society of the 1980s, divided according to ethnicity and genetic background. His song “Asimbonanga” dedicated to Nelson Mandela, made one of his musical works that has most marked the spirit of music lovers.
The Zulu White has thus bowed leaving a country in mourning, a disappearance that affects the entire African continent but also outside the continent. He was about to release his latest album, “King Of Time” on which he was working.