Johnny Clegg, a British-born South African singer, songwriter and guitarist whose admixture of Western and African influences begin an all-embracing admirers and stood as an adumbration of attrition to the ageism authorities in his adopted land, died on Tuesday in Johannesburg. He was 66.
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His manager, Roddy Quin, appear the death. Mr. Clegg abstruse in 2015 that he had pancreatic cancer.
From his boyish years onward, Mr. Clegg ventured with anytime greater aggressiveness above ancestral lines. He spent time in the gritty, violence-prone hostels aloof for casual atramentous mineworkers that were formally off banned to best of his boyish white South Africans. His music above ancestral curve as well.
In the bands Juluka (“Sweat” in the isiZulu language) and Savuka (“We accept risen”) and as a abandoned artist, Mr. Clegg became accepted for songs and performances that resonated through South Africa’s continued attempt adjoin ancestral separation.
“We accept a mission,” he told The New York Times in 1990, “which is to accompany a accomplished accumulating of songs that are about the South African acquaintance to the world.”
His song “Impi” (“Regiment”), from Juluka’s anthology “African Litany” (1981), acclaimed the achievement of Zulu armament over British colonial invaders at Isandhlwana in 1879. In “African Sky Blue,” on the aforementioned album, Mr. Clegg and the Zulu guitarist Sipho Mchunu, antipodal those warriors to South Africa’s avant-garde gold mines.
“The warrior’s now a worker, and his war is underground,” Mr. Clegg sang. “With cordite in the atramentous he milks the bleeding veins of gold.”
“Scatterlings of Africa,” absorption the countless dislocations of South African society, became a advance bartering success in Britain and abroad in 1984, enabling Mr. Clegg to carelessness an bookish career in Johannesburg as an anthropologist and allot himself abounding time to his music.
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The addictive lyrics of his 1987 song “Asimbonanga” (“We accept not apparent him”), about the confined Nelson Mandela, were so evocative of the era that in 1999, Mandela, by again a chargeless man, abutting a afraid Mr. Clegg onstage at a concert in Frankfurt during a achievement of the song.
The moment had a accurate poignancy: Aback “Asimbonanga” was written, Mandela was confined and all but airy above the bastille walls beneath ageism laws that prevented his angel and utterances from actuality published.
With his amazing onstage achievement of high-kicking Zulu war dances and stick fighting, Mr. Clegg was generally referred to as “the White Zulu.” It was a appellation he said he loathed, but it nonetheless reflected the ancestral contortions and obsessions of South Africa both afore and afterwards the elections in 1994, which brought Mandela to adeptness as the country’s aboriginal atramentous admiral afterwards his absolution from bastille in 1990.
The South African government said in a account on Tuesday that Mr. Clegg’s music “had the adeptness to affiliate bodies above the races,” and that he had “made an enduring mark in the music industry and the hearts of the people.”
Throughout the ageism era, Mr. Clegg and his bands were addled by the authorities and occasionally detained. Their performances were generally disrupted, wherever they were held. Beneath ageism legislation accepted as the Group Areas Act, white bodies were not acceptable to access absolute atramentous townships afterwards official permits, which were generally withheld, while atramentous bodies were kept out of whites-only areas by caliginosity curfews and a web of zoning restrictions.
Other ageism proscriptions kept Mr. Clegg’s music off state-run radio shows. (He said he was aboriginal arrested at the age of 15.)
At the aforementioned time, he was accusable by the Musicians’ Union of Britain absolutely because he performed in South Africa, in contravention of an embargo that was declared to reinforce the abreast of the ageism regime.
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Despite that sanction, Mr. Clegg toured widely, accepting an all-embracing following. He was decidedly accepted in France, area he was fabricated a Chevalier of Arts and Letters in 1991. Britain called him an administrator of the Order of the British Empire in 2015. In South Africa, he accustomed the country’s accomplished noncombatant medal, the presidential Ikhamanga Award, in 2012.
Mr. Clegg accustomed his blight analysis in 2015. Two years later, aback the ache was said to be in absolution afterwards chemotherapy, he boarded on what was labeled the Final Adventure Tour, demography him to Britain, the United States, Canada, South Africa and elsewhere.
“Johnny Clegg is not absolutely a domiciliary name in Britain,” the British bi-weekly The Guardian appear afterwards he performed in London. “But aback home in South Africa he has the cachet of a civic treasure, and it seems that every (predominantly white) South African in boondocks has angry out to see him.”
Jonathan Paul Clegg was built-in on June 7, 1953, in Bacup, a onetime affection milling boondocks in northwest England. His parents afar aback he was an infant, and he did not accommodated his father, Dennis, until he was 21 years old, according to biographical addendum in “Learning Zulu: A Secret History of Accent in South Africa,” a 2016 abstraction by Mark Sanders, a assistant of allusive abstract at New York University.
Mr. Clegg’s mother, Muriel, a applesauce accompanist from a Lithuanian Jewish family, confused aback from Britain to her built-in Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was accepted afore ability in 1980. She afterwards affiliated a South African journalist, Dan Pienaar.
The brace bankrupt up aback Mr. Clegg was 12. But afore they did, Mr. Pienaar alien his stepson to activity in absolute atramentous townships, which were rarely if anytime visited by white people.
Mr. Clegg lived briefly in Israel and Zambia, area he abounding multiracial schools at a time aback apprenticeship in South Africa was carefully segregated. In South Africa, “I acquainted like a migrant,” he said in an account with the South African bi-weekly The Mail & Guardian in 2010. “So aback I met casual workers — Zulu casual workers — there was article about them that I allegedly affiliated with, because they were additionally establishing these aerial access with altered places.”
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Despite the expectations of his mother’s ancestors that he would be aloft according to Jewish traditions, he beneath to accept a bar account and declared himself as a “secular Jew.”
Survivors accommodate his wife, Jenny, and two sons, Jesse and Jaron. Jesse Clegg has a acknowledged career of his own as a accompanist and songwriter.
Mr. Clegg’s agreeable adventure began aback he was an boyish and met Charlie Mzila, a Zulu casual who bankrupt apartments by day and played guitar by night. From him, Mr. Clegg generally said, he abstruse a new affectionate of guitar playing, with the apparatus acquainted and strung abnormally than in the West.
He formed the bandage Juluka afterwards affair Sipho Mchunu, a Zulu casual artisan at the time. That band, which attenuated acceptable Zulu music with influences as assorted as Celtic folk groups like the Chieftains and American singer-songwriters like Jackson Browne, accomplished all-embracing acclaim afore it disbanded in 1985 and Mr. Mchunu alternate to his acreage in Zululand. It reunited briefly in the mid-1990s.
Mr. Clegg’s additional band, the added rock-oriented Savuka, was formed in 1986 and was nominated for a Grammy in the apple music class for its 1993 album, “Heat, Dust and Dreams.” But the bandage was attenuated that year, anon afterwards Dudu Ndlovu, Mr. Clegg’s bagman and onstage ball partner, was attempt to death, allegedly while aggravating to arbitrate in a battle amid battling cabdrivers.
Mr. Clegg committed a song, “Osiyeza” (“We are coming”), to Mr. Ndlovu. “It’s alone you that charcoal with me,” the lyrics said in part. “Clear as the ablaze of day.”
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