South African singer Johnny Clegg has died at age 66
Johnny Clegg, the South African singer known for Zulu rhythms and sounds with Western styles, has died, his manager Roddy Quin said in a statement.
The 66-year-old died on Tuesday at his family home in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015 but continued to tour around the world.
Clegg’s music has been described as groundbreaking during the apartheid era. He co-founded two interracial bands, including Juluka with Sipho Mchunu and Savuka with Dudu Zulu.
“He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity,” Quin said. “An anthropologist that used his music to speak to every person. With his unique style of music he traversed cultural barriers like few others. In many of us he awakened awareness.”
The South African government also shared its condolences to Clegg’s family and friends.”He has left deep footprints in our hearts,” according to its Twitter account. “He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity.”
‘One of South Africa’s most celebrated sons’
Clegg’s music influenced people around the world.
Clegg combined his love for music with his interest in anthropology.
He presented papers, such as “The Music of Zulu Immigrant Workers in Johannesburg” in 1981. He also received a number of Honorary doctorates from the Universities of the Witwatersrand, KwaZulu-Natal, Dartmouth College and the City University of New York.
Clegg’s work led him to earn several awards, including the Order of Ikhamanga from the South African government in 2012.
“He was a singer, a songwriter, a dancer, anthropologist whose infectious crossover music exploded onto the international scene and contributed towards social cohesion,” the South African government said, calling him “one of South Africa’s most celebrated sons.”
Clegg also authored and published the book “UkuBuyisa Isidumbu,” which analyzed the ideology of vengeance in two rural South African locations.
Clegg’s family will hold a private funeral service. There will also be a service for the public to pay their respects.