Johnny Clegg is one of the most influential musicians to come out of South Africa. The anti-apartheid activist had a great musical journey, however sadly in 2018 it came to an end.
Clegg, who has been battling cancer, bowed out this year0 but he’s not doing it quietly. The South African toured the US, Canada, Dubai and London during his The Final Journey world tour.
So, Briefly.co.za decided to gather five quick facts about the legendary musician in honour of his final year in his career.
1. He’s actually a Brit
Clegg, a renowned anti-apartheid activist, was born in Bacup, Lancashire in the United Kingdom to an English father and a Rhodesian mother.
The musician’s parents spilt up when he was still young and lived with his mother in Rhodesia before moving to SA.
2. Michael who?
Just to show how big Clegg was in the music industry, the king of pop, Michael Jacskon cancelled one of his shows in France because it was on the same night as Clegg’s show.
This was because Clegg’s show received more attention.
“What happened to me in 1988 in France was an indication of what was possible: we were the biggest selling foreign act in France throughout 1988-89. Outselling Michael Jackson and Madonna, together.”
3. Clegg received royal recognition
Four-years-ago the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) recognised Clegg for his “unique service to the arts, vulnerable people, children and democracy in South Africa.”
Two years prior to that, in 2012, then-President Jacob Zuma honoured him with the highest honour a SA citizen can receive- the Order of Ikhamanga.
4. A rebel with a cause
At the age of 15, Clegg was arrested for violating Apartheid laws that prohibited different races hanging out after certain times. Briefly.co.za learned it was his passion to learn African musical elements that got him in trouble.
5. The final show
In 2015, Clegg was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His shows decreased as he underwent chemotherapy- but in 2017, with his cancer in remission Clegg announced his “Final Journey” tour.
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