JOHNNY CLEGG, 1953–2019

Johnny Clegg’s final journey is over. It came to an end after he had endured a four year battle with pancreatic cancer. Clegg was always most comfortable — in the public view, on stage, singing, playing guitar and township concertina — telling life stories and stomping around like a 25-year-old.

“Pancreatic cancer is lethal. There’s no way out of it.”

No. I will not just lie back and fade away until somebody says, “Hey, did you hear, Johnny Clegg died?”. No. He wrote more songs, recorded another album, released a great new hit single (King of Time). Clegg then went on tour, while in remission from a killer cancer.

How did we know you, Johnny? Your music threads through our lives as much as your ideas do. Still, do. To the end, you remained one of the most visible examples of how we can be and should be, all of us together in one big, colourful, gumboot-stomping country. Even when so often we failed you and ourselves.

Your music remains, we keep it with us, and whenever we play Scatterlings of Africa, sing-along to Asimbonanga, weep to The Crossing, hum the melody of Great Heart, or stomp around the lounge toImpi, singing particularly loudly on “Chelmsford’s army lay asleep” — you will be there, Johnny Clegg. King of our Time.

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Experience in Explosives, Fertilizers, Heavy Chemicals and Author. Love People, High Tech, Space and Afrikaans/English Translator.

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Mattheus Frederik

Mattheus Frederik

Experience in Explosives, Fertilizers, Heavy Chemicals and Author. Love People, High Tech, Space and Afrikaans/English Translator.

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