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Johnny Clegg performing live.

Listen to 10 Great Songs From Johnny Clegg

Here are some of the best songs to remember South Africa's son of the soil.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that South African musician, Johnny Clegg, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Understandably, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in ever since. Long before it was cool (or even legal) to be in close proximity to blackness and anything attached to it in South Africa, Clegg, a white man, was doing just that. That is exactly why he was given the endearing title of South Africa's "son of the soil."

Growing up during Apartheid, Clegg was taught how to speak the Zulu language by a domestic worker named Charlie Mzila. In his teenage years, his appreciation for the Zulu culture continued and he soon learnt the traditional dance styles known as isishameni and also learnt how to play the Maskandi guitar. Clegg's music was a beacon of light during a very dark time in South Africa's history and his songs about Nelson Mandela (at a time where songs were banned for merely mentioning the name of the late statesman and other key struggle activists) brought the country together.

It is irrefutable that a music giant has fallen. However, Clegg leaves behind a wealth of music featuring other great South African artists and groups such as Zakwe, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Juluka/Suvuka, among several others. His music undeniably brought South Africans and people all around the world together.

We've picked ten of our favorite songs from the late musician's discography in honor of a life that was lived to the fullest.



"Dela"

This up-tempo song talks about falling in love and uses some pretty powerful metaphors to describe that process. Singing in his signature style of using both English and Zulu lyrics, this 90s hit became a staple at every wedding reception.

"Asimbonanga"

"Asimbonanga" is Zulu for "we did not see him." This song, perhaps one of Clegg's most well-known, speaks to the near three-decade imprisonment of Nelson Mandela on Robben Island and how South Africans saw very little of him during the Apartheid era.

"Scatterlings of Africa"

This song is the personification of what unity among a people, especially a previously divided people, can look like. Clegg, accompanied by the music group Juluka/Suvuka, sings about his love of the "scatterlings of Africa," the diverse people of Africa and how they come together to create a truly beautiful continent.

"King of Time"

This song is one of Clegg's more recent releases. He sings about the love of his life and how he feels she often remembers the man he used to be. He yearns to go back in time where he too can revisit the qualities of that same man.

"Kilimanjaro"

In this infectious song, Clegg sings about how he's "sitting on the top of Kilimanjaro," the highest mountain in Africa, and imagining a future of endless possibilities for the continent. It's a hopeful and carefree song that will leave you feeling exactly that.

"Color of My Skin"

This is another of Clegg's more recent releases and he teams up with the incredible Beninese-American singer-songwriter, Angélique Kidjo. The duo sing about how a person is always judged by the color of their skin before anything else and how they long for the day when people will be seen as just that—people.

"The Crossing"

This is a truly inspiring song that was featured in the film Invictus starring Morgan Freeman, playing the role of Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, the captain of the Springbok national rugby team. It speaks quite powerfully about a people overcoming their challenges with incredible perseverance.

"Great Heart"

If ever there was the ultimate love letter to Africa, then this is certainly it. As Clegg sings, "I'm searching for the spirit of the Great Heart under African skies", there is a sense of tremendous nostalgia but also of hope for what it is still to come.

"African Sky Blue"

The use of Maskandi guitar and flute in this song is incredible. Clegg, accompanied once again by the music group Juluka/Suvuka, sings about how he seeks to obtain a blessing on his life by the great African continent so that he can triumph over any difficulties that he may face in future.

"Impi"

"Impi" which is Zulu for "war", describes how two enemy camps are about to engage in war. While the vibrant rhythm of the song sounds deceitfully joyful, Clegg actually laments the loss of life that war inevitably brings.

News Brief
Photo: Getty

Here's What You Need To Know About The Political Unrest In Sudan

Thousands have been protesting the Sudanese government over the weekend, supporting the military's plans for a coup.

Sudan's transitional government is in turmoil as thousands of citizens conducted a sit-in protest against them, over the weekend. A group of Sudanese citizens have called on the military to disestablish the nation's current government, as the country struggles with the greatest crisis they've seen since the end of former dictator Omar al-Bashir's controversial ruling, two years ago. The weekend's pro-military protests come as anti-military protestors took to the streets earlier this month to fight for civilian-ruled laws.

Military-aligned demonstrators assembled outside of the famously off-limits entrance of the Presidential Palace located in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum on Monday. Gatherers set up tents, blocking off access to two main intersections, cutting off access to the capital for those inside. Police attempted to wave off crowds with teargas, with Khartoum state officials saying they had, "repelled an attempted assault on the seat of government," in a statement issued Monday.

The assembly was called for by a coalition of rebel groups and political parties that support Sudan's military, accusing the civilian political parties of mismanagement and monopolizing power under their ruling. Demonstrations began on Saturday, but Sunday's gathering saw a lower attendance. According to Reuters, by Monday afternoon, thousands, between 2,000 - 3,000, had returned to voice their concerns. 52-year-old tribal elder Tahar Fadl al-Mawla spoke at the helm of the sit-in outside of the Presidential palace saying, "The civilian government has failed. We want a government of soldiers to protect the transition." Alongside a 65-year-old Ahman Jumaa who claimed to have traveled more than 900 kilometers (570 miles) from Southern region Nyala to show his support.

Protesters are demanding the appointment of a new cabinet that is "more representative of the people who participated in the December 2019 revolution that eventually led to the ousting of former president Omar al-Bashir", Al Jazeera reported from Sudan. Protesters headed towards the Presidential Palace, where an emergency cabinet meeting was being held when they were met by police forces.

Pro-civilian political parties have plans for their own demonstration on Thursday, the anniversary of the 1964 revolution that overthrew Sudan's first military regime under Ibrahim Abboud and brought in a period of democracy that the country still struggles to uphold.


Sudanese Twitter users shared their thoughts online, with many drawing similarities between the current unrest and other political crises the nation has faced.


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