Written by: Alex Green
The charismatic South African singer/songwriter Johnny Clegg has died.
The British-born Clegg, who had been fighting pancreatic cancer since 2015, was 66.
He died at his home in Johannesburg surrounded by his family.
Famous for fusing Zulu rhythms with pop music, Clegg was not only one of South Africa’s favorite sons, he was beloved all over the globe. A groundbreaking artist, Clegg was the co-founder of the interracial outfits Juluka and Savuka. Many believe that these bands were important in breaking down racial barriers and stereotypes during the apartheid era in South Africa.
Before he was 20, Clegg had mastered the Zulu language, maskandi guitar, which is a centerpiece in Zulu folk music.
A gifted dancer with the build of a running back and the grace of an acrobat, Clegg wasn’t just an entertainer–an activist, an author and an avid social anthropologist, Clegg was awarded honorary doctorates from Dartmouth, Universities of the Witwatersrand, KwaZulu-Natal, and City University of New York.
Clegg, whose book UkuBuyisa Isidumbu examined idealogical violence in rural South Africa, was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga from the South African government in 2012.
Johnny Clegg Awards And Honors (List taken from the artist’s official website)
1988 The Mayor’s Office of Los Angeles Award: For the promotion of racial harmony
1988 Le Victoire French Music Industry Award for biggest International record album sold in France between 1987 and 1988 (1.3 million albums)
1989 Honorary Citizen of the town of Angouleme, France
1990-1991 French Music Industry Award for the biggest selling world music album in France
1990 Humanitarian Award: Secretary of State of Ohio, USA
1991 Awarded the CHEVALIER DE L’ORDRE DES ARTS ET DES LETTRES (Knight of Arts and Letters) by the French Government
1993 GRAMMY AWARD nomination for best World Music Album (Heat, Dust and Dreams)
1994 Billboard Music Award Best World Music Album
1996 Medal of Honour – city of Besancon
1998 Kora Awards: Best African Group
2004 Mayoral Medal of Honour from Mayor of Lyon, France, for outstanding relations between the people of Lyon and South Africa
2004 Medal of Honour – Consul General of the Province of Nievre
2004 Medal of Honour – Consul General of the Province of L’Aisne
South African Awards
1986 Scotty Award : Master Music Maker
1987 Communication Contribution Award
1987 The Autumn Harvest Music Personality Award
1988 OK TV Best Pop Music Award
1988 CCP Record Special Award : In recognition of exceptional achievement in promotion of South African music internationally
1989 Radio 5 – Loud & Proud Award – South African Music Ambassador of the Year
1990 FOYSA Award (Four Outstanding South Africans) Junior Chamber of Commerce
1999 Avanti Award – Best Music Video “Crocodile Love”
(Awards and Honors source: www.johnnyclegg.com)