South African music legend Johnny Clegg has died at the age of 66 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He died in the afternoon of Tuesday, July 16, 2018 at his home in Johannesburg, surrounded by family.
Clegg was born on 7 June 1953 in Bacup, Lancashire, England. He moved to South Africa with his mother at the age of 6 following his parents’ divorce.
He studied social anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand, graduating with a BA in 1976 and a BA Hons in 1997. He then worked briefly as a lecturer at Wits and the University of KwaZulu-Natal before focusing on his music career.
In his 40-year music career, Johnny Clegg released many hits, including Asimbonanga and Scatterlings of Africa. He sang in Zulu and English, which made him popular both locally and internationally. Due to his fluency in the Zulu language and his love for the Zulu culture, he was nicknamed “White Zulu”. He was a founding member and leader of the band Juluka, with which he released eight studio albums from 1979 to 1997. He also released four solo albums from 2002 to 2017.
In 2015, Clegg was diagnosed with stage 2 pancreatic cancer. He embarked on his final international tour in 2017 when the cancer went into remission. He described the tour as his final journey to say farewell to his fans.
Clegg is survived by his wife Jenny and their two sons Jesse and Jaron.