Johnny Clegg, South Africa’s 'White Zulu' rocker, dies aged 66

Update: July, 17/2019 - 11:48

SOUTH AFRICA — South African rocker Johnny Clegg, whose best-known songs included one dedicated to the imprisoned Nelson Mandela, was beloved at home and abroad for using music as a unifying force in a nation scarred by apartheid.


Johnny Clegg (right) performed in the band Savuka for years under apartheid until group member Dudu Zulu (left) was shot dead in 1992. — AFP Photo

Nicknamed the “White Zulu”, he mastered the language, culture and high kicks of Zulu dance, creating two multi-racial bands in defiance of the segregationist laws of the apartheid-era government, which censored his work.

“We had to find our way around a myriad of laws that prevented us from mixing across racial lines,” he told AFP in 2017.

With curly hair and an amiable demeanour, Clegg maintained his energy and passion even as pancreatic cancer took hold, embarking on a Final Journey Tour of several countries in 2017 after being diagnosed two years earlier.

He died of cancer at his home in Johannesburg on Tuesday, aged 66. — AFP

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