Johnny Clegg obituary, 1953-2019

Johnny Clegg, who has died of cancer aged 66, was a white singer-songwriter who became a national hero in South Africa by using music to defy the apartheid-era segregation laws. He challenged the authorities by forming mixed-race bands, performing to both black and white audiences, and mixing Zulu influences into songs that brought him international success. Known as the “white Zulu” or umlungu omnyama (“the black white person”), he spoke fluent Zulu and was an energetic and skilful exponent of Zulu dance.

He was best known for the poignant, stirring 1987 anthem Asimbonanga (We have not seen him), a tribute to Nelson Mandela, who was then still in jail, and to other key figures of the anti-apartheid struggle. 

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