On 16 July 2019, the world said goodbye to a legend.
South African musician and anthropologist, Jonathan Paul Clegg was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015, which sadly led to his death on 16 July 2019.
He was born in Bacup, the United Kingdom on 7 June 1953 and lived in the UK until the age of 7. Johnny and his mother immigrated to South Africa, where she eventually remarried a man who was South African. Johnny was exposed to a new environment and had to adapt to a different lifestyle. In Johannesburg, Johnny learned about the city’s Zulu migrant workers, who had a passion for dance and music. Clegg had an immediate interest in performing arts and mastered the Zulu language, the maskandi guitar as well as the isishameni dance styles which he learned from the migrants. Unfortunately, he was often arrested due to his involvement with black musicians as it was seen as “trespassing on government property”. His first arrest took place when he was only 15 years old, for violating the laws of the apartheid-era in South Africa.
Sipho Mchunu and Clegg met when he was 17 years old. Sipho was a Zulu migrant worker who had a passion for music. They started performing music together and during the 1970s, their partnership which they called “Juluka”, was described as a television documentary called “Beats of the Heart: Rhythm of Resistance”.
Johnny was an activist and an important figure in South Africa for his popular music and opposition to Apartheid. Johnny was also the founder of the band “Savuka”. The band focused on the fusion of traditional Zulu musical influences, Celtic music, and Rock music.
Johnny’s music still speaks to the hearts of many and he indeed remains a legend.
We at Cape Town Getaways, as fellow South Africans, give honor to Johnny for his activism during the Apartheid years and for the major impact, he made in our country.