Johnny Clegg, South African singer, songwriter and guitarist of British origin, whose fusion of Western and African influences has introduced collectively a world viewers and has grow to be an emblem of resistance to apartheid authorities in his adopted nation, died Tuesday in Johannesburg. He was 66 years outdated.
Its director, Roddy Quin, introduced the demise. Mr. Clegg realized in 2015 that he had pancreatic most cancers.
From his teenage years, Mr. Clegg ventured with rising audacity regardless of his racial affiliation. He frolicked within the tough and abusive youth hostels reserved for black migrant minors who had been formally forbidden to most of his South African white compatriots. His music has additionally crossed racial traces.
Within the teams Juluka ("Sweat" in IsiZulu) and Savuka ("We're resurrected") and as a solo artist, Mr. Clegg turned well-known for his songs and his performances which resonate within the lengthy struggle led by the South Africa in opposition to racial separation.
"We now have a mission," he advised the New York Occasions in 1990, "which is to carry to the world a set of songs that take care of the South African expertise."
His music "Impi" ("Regiment"), Juluka's album "African Litany" (1981), celebrates the victory of the Zulu forces over the British colonial invaders at Isandhlwana in 1879. In "African Sky Blue", on the identical album, Clegg and Zulu guitarist Sipho Mchunu have transposed these warriors into the trendy gold mines of South Africa.
"The warrior is now a employee and his struggle is underground," Clegg sang. "With cordite in the dead of night, he treats the bleeding veins of gold."
"Scatterlings of Africa", a reflection of the innumerable upheavals of South African society, became a decisive commercial success in Britain and elsewhere in 1984, allowing Mr. Clegg to abandon a university career in Johannesburg as a career. Anthropologist and dedicate himself full time to his music.
The haunted lyrics of his 1987 song "Asimbonanga" ("We have not seen it"), about the prisoners Nelson Mandela, was so evocative of this time that in 1999, Mandela, become a free man, joined Mr. Clegg on the stage during a concert in Frankfurt, during the interpretation of the song.
The moment was particularly moving: when "Asimbonanga" was written, Mandela was incarcerated and virtually invisible beyond the walls of the prison, under the laws of apartheid that prevented the publication of his image and his words.
With his spectacular stage performance of war dances and Zulu chopsticks, Mr. Clegg was often called "white Zulu". It was a nickname he hated, but it nonetheless reflected the racial contortions and obsessions of the South. Africa, before and after the 1994 elections, brought Mandela to power as the country's first black president after being released from prison in 1990.
The South African government said Tuesday in a statement that Clegg's music "had the ability to unite people across races" and that it "had left an indelible mark in the world." music industry and the hearts of people ".
Throughout the period of apartheid, Mr. Clegg and his gangs were harassed by the authorities and sometimes detained. Their shows were often disturbed where they stand. Under the apartheid legislation known as the "Group Areas Act", whites are not allowed to enter separate black townships without official permits, which are often denied to them.
Other proscriptions of apartheid prevented Mr. Clegg's music from broadcasting state-run radio programs. (He said that he had been arrested for the first time at the age of 15.)
At the same time, it was censored by the Union of Musicians of Britain precisely because it occurs in South Africa, in violation of an embargo supposed to reinforce the isolation of the apartheid regime.
Despite this sanction, Mr. Clegg has toured extensively, ensuring an international audience. He was particularly popular in France, where he was named Knight of Arts and Letters in 1991. Britain appointed him an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2015. In Africa from the South, he received the country's highest civilian medal, the Ikhamanga, presidential. Price, in 2012.
Mr. Clegg was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. Two years later, when the disease was in remission after chemotherapy, he embarked on what was called the Final Journey Tour, driving him into Great Britain, the United States, Canada and South Africa. and elsewhere.
"Johnny Clegg is not exactly a known name in Britain," the British newspaper The Guardian reported after its performance in London. "But at home, in South Africa, it has the status of national treasure and it seems that all the South Africans (mostly white) of the city have moved to see it."
Jonathan Paul Clegg was born on June 7, 1953 in Bacup, a former cotton producing town in northwestern England. His parents separated when he was a child and he did not meet his father, Dennis, until the age of 21, according to the biographical notes of "Learning Zulu: a secret history of languages in South Africa ", 2016 study by Mark Sanders, professor of comparative literature at the University of New York.
Mr. Clegg's mother, Muriel, a jazz singer from a Lithuanian Jewish family, returned from Britain to her native Rhodesia, Zimbabwe being known before independence in 1980. She married later with South African journalist Dan Pienaar.
The couple broke up when Mr. Clegg was 12 years old. But before that, Mr. Pienaar introduced his step-son to life in separate black townships, where whites rarely, if ever, came.
Mr. Clegg lived briefly in Israel and Zambia, where he attended multiracial schools at a time when education in South Africa was strictly separated. In South Africa, "I felt like a migrant," he said in an interview with the South African newspaper The Mail & Guardian in 2010. "So when I met Migrant workers - Zulu migrant workers - there was something about them that I intuitively connected with, as they also established these tenuous connections with different places. "
Despite the expectation of his mother's family that he would be raised according to Jewish tradition, he refused to have a bar mitzvah and described himself as a "secular Jew."
The survivors include his wife Jenny and his two sons, Jesse and Jaron. Jesse Clegg has a successful career as a singer and songwriter.
Mr. Clegg's musical journey began when he was a teenager and met Charlie Mzila, a Zulu migrant who cleaned the apartments during the day and played guitar at night. From him, Mr. Clegg often said that he had learned a new type of guitar playing, the instrument tuned and stringed differently than the one used in the West.
He formed the Juluka group after meeting Sipho Mchunu, a Zulu migrant worker at the time. This group, which mixed traditional Zulu music with influences as diverse as Celtic folk groups such as the Chieftains and American songwriters such as Jackson Browne, gained international renown before its dissolution in 1985 and Mr Mchunu was returned to his Zululand farm. He met briefly in the mid 90s.
Clegg's second most rock-oriented band, Savuka, was formed in 1986 and was nominated for a Grammy in the world music category for his 1993 album, "Heat and Dust". But the group was dissolved that year, shortly after Dudu. Ndlovu, Mr. Clegg's drummer and his dancing partner on stage, was shot dead, apparently while he was attempting to mediate a conflict between rival taxi drivers.
Mr. Clegg dedicated a song, "Osiyeza" ("We are coming"), to Mr. Ndlovu. "Only you stay with me," say the lyrics in part. "Clear as daylight."