Remembering Johnny Clegg – 5 essential songs

Remembering Johnny Clegg – 5 essential songs

Johnny Clegg performs at Emperors Palace on the opening night of his Heart of a Dancer tour, 4 December 2008. Picture: Neil McCartney

The SA musical icon passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer, but his music lives on.

  1. Scatterlings of Africa – Johnny Clegg and Juluka

Juluka was formed in 1969 by Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu. Juluka means “sweat”, and was the name of a bull owned by Mchunu. Scatterlings of Africa, arguably the band’s biggest hit, was featured on the 1982 album of the same name.

2. Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World – Savuka

Savuka was a multi-racial South African band formed in 1986 by Johnny Clegg after the disbanding of Juluka. Savuka’s music blended traditional Zulu musical influences with Celtic music and Rock music that had a cross-racial appeal in South Africa.

The album Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World – the band’s most successful album, was released in 1989 – with the title track going on to be its biggest hit.

3. Johnny Clegg – The Crossing

Savuka’s percussionist Dudu Zulu was killed in 1992; the song The Crossing was a tribute to him.

4. Impi – Johnny Clegg and Juluka

Impi, which was banned during apartheid, become something of an unofficial national anthem, especially at major international sports events.

Its lyrics are about the defeat of the colonial British army by the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlwana.

5. Asimbonanga – Savuka

Asimbonanga was an anti-apartheid song by Savuka, from their 1987 album Third World Child. It was a tribute to Nelson Mandela, imprisoned on Robben Island the time of song’s release, and other anti-apartheid activists.

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