South African legendary singer Johnny Clegg, who blended Zulu rhythms with Western styles and defied apartheid segregation, died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, his manager said.
“Johnny passed away (with) his family this afternoon after a four and a half year battle with cancer,” manager Roddy Quinn told SABC news.
“It is with immense sadness that we confirm that Johnny Clegg… succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 66 on the afternoon of 16 July 2019 at his family home in Johannesburg,” Quinn added in a statement.
Johnny leaves deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers him/herself to be an African. He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity.
“Johnny leaves deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers him/herself to be an African.
“He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity.
“With his unique style of music he traversed cultural barriers like few others. In many of us, he awakened awareness.”
Nicknamed the “White Zulu”, he mastered the language, culture and high kicks of Zulu dance, forming multi-racial bands in defiance of the segregationist laws of the apartheid-era government which censored his work.
Clegg was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 but continued to tour and perform around the world.
A towering giant has fallen with the passing of legendary Singer-songwriter & Anthropologist Johnny Clegg. Our hearts are sore & as he famously sang in Asimbonanga “oh the sea is cold & the sky is grey” as we contend with the loss of a torchbearer of our struggle for freedom. pic.twitter.com/35RGuWGn02— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) July 16, 2019
I’m deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Johnny Clegg.— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) July 16, 2019
A true legend and one of our greatest ambassadors. He wrote our SA story when our country was at its worst and at its best.
I’d like to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, may his soul rest in peace. ?? pic.twitter.com/m2WP8T8xqh
Name a more iconic duo, ill wait….— Ryan Cummings (@Pol_Sec_Analyst) July 16, 2019
Rest in Power Johnny Clegg pic.twitter.com/k9BjVeG9GI