popular

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.

popular
Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
(Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage via Getty)

Listen to Wizkid's Surprise New EP 'Soundman Vol. 1'

Wizkid treats fans to new songs featuring Chronixx, DJ Tunez and more—just ahead of 2020.

Wizkid is back. The Nigerian pop star surprised listeners early this morning with the unannounced release of a new EP, Soundman Vol. 1.

Though Wizkid has released a couple of singles this year, fans had been awaiting a new drop and more extensive project from the artist. With it being so close to the end of the year, it didn't look like we'd get a new body of work from the artist till 2020, but he proved otherwise when he took to Twitter at the wee hours of the morning to quietly share streaming links for the new project.

He also announced that a second EP, Soundman Vol. 2, would drop sometime before his highly-anticipated upcoming album Made In Lagos (MIL).

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Convener of "#Revolution Now" Omoyele Sowore speaks during his arraignment for charges against the government at the Federal High Court in Abuja, on September 30, 2019. (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Nigerian Activist, Omoyele Sowore, Re-Arrested Just Hours After Being Released on Bail

Sowore, the organizer of Nigeria's #RevolutionNow protests, was detained by armed officers, once again, in court on Friday.

Omoyele Sowore, the Nigerian human rights activist and former presidential candidate who has spent over four months in jail under dubious charges, was re-arrested today in Lagos while appearing in court.

The journalist and founder of New York-based publication Sahara Reporters, had been released on bail the day before. He was arrested following his organization of nationwide #RevolutionNow protests in August. Since then, Sowore has remained in custody on what are said to be trumped-up charges, including treason, money laundering and stalking the president.

He appeared in court once again on Friday after being released on bail in federal court the previous day. During his appearance, Sowore was again taken into custody by Nigerian authorities.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.