Cities around the globe are mourning the passing of musician Johnny Clegg who for decades became a reliable export of South African musical culture to the rest of the world.
Clegg died in his Johannesburg home after battling with pancreatic cancer since 2015. He was 66.
Independent New York-based South African entertainment journalist Nadia Neophytou, who runs a blog titled MissNtertainment says: “For so much of his four-decade long career, Johnny Clegg toured internationally, taking South African music beyond the country’s borders particularly Zulu music. He had a long relationship with New York City playing so many of its venues from City Winery to BB Kings, even central park summer stage in the 1990s with Jaluka.”
She says, “His most recent show was in 2017. It was part of the final journey tour, the world tour that he had put together to try and bid farewell to his fans around the world and whenever he would perform here in New York expats would come up and so too would Americans who really did seem to enjoy his energetic shows.”
“He would explain where all the songs came from, the origins, the history, the culture of South Africa and even in 2011 he received an honorary doctorate of laws from City University of New York law school. So he really did make an impact here in NYC, just one of the cities around the world that will be mourning his passing,” she adds.
Meanwhile, Clegg’s fans have expressed shock and sadness at the news of his death.
One fan recounts their memories of the music giant. “This man was one of the first musicians that I knew of in South Africa and he was a movement of his own and he made us proud. I am so sorry that he had to suffer like this but I am also proud to have known his music.”
Another fan says, “Wow…He’s been an absolute legend. This man brought South Africa together. Wow…”
Meanwhile, Jazz Musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse says Johnny Clegg made an enormous contribution to the country’s music industry and society at large.
While, musical legend, Abigail Kubeka, says that she wants to celebrate Clegg’s life as he has made history. –Additional reporting by Zoleka Qodashe.