ANC in Parliament Mourns Johnny Clegg’s Death

17 July 2019

The African National Congress Study Group on Sport, Arts, and Culture mourns the death of musician Johnny Clegg. Clegg passed away last night after a long battle with cancer. Born in Bacup England in 1953, Jonathan “Johnny” Clegg grew up in the then Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Israel as an infant, before his family settled in South Africa in 1959. He attended Athlone Boys’ High School in Johannesburg’s eastern suburbs, before pursuing an illustrious career in music.

Clegg and band mate Sipho Mchunu formed the racially integrated South African Mbaqanga band Juluka in 1978, in contravention of apartheid laws that prohibited racial integration among all South Africans. Juluka’s music was overtly political and challenged the status-quo of the day, often leading to Clegg and other band members being subjected to constant harassment by the apartheid regime.

In 1986 Clegg formed another band that embraced South Africa’s unique diversity called Savuka. This band found international success, even receiving a Grammy nomination for their 1993 Album titled “Heat, Dust and Dreams”. In 2012, Clegg was a recipient of “The Order of Ikhamanga in Silver” for his contribution to, the field of bridging African traditional music with other music forms; for promoting racial understanding among racially divided groups in South Africa under apartheid, and for being a spokesperson for the release of political prisoners.

Clegg will always be remembered for his enduring spirit against injustice and for championing human rights. The ANC Study Group on Sports, Arts and Culture sends heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and supporters during this difficult time.

Issued by the ANC Study Group on Sports, Arts and Culture Whip, comrade Nocks Seabi


Andile Mdleleni