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

Watch Nadia Nakai and Tshego’s Gory Music Video for ‘More Drugs’

Watch Nadia Nakai's new music video for "More Drugs" featuring Tshego.

Nadia Nakai's latest music video is reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino movie. From the vintage film color scheme and grading to the gory scenes—in one scene, Nadia is literally taking a bloodbath.

Keep reading...
popular

Watch the First Episode of Flame’s Documentary Series ‘Welcome To My Life’

Flame takes fans behind the scenes in his new documentary series.

From interviews to smoking sessions, performances, studio sessions and a visit to the hair salon, Flame gives fans a glimpse into his life and adventures.

The South African hip-hop artist and producer shared the first episode of an ongoing documentary series titled Welcome To My Life. The first episode, which he shared today, shows Flame and his affiliates—the likes of Ecco, Mellow and others—going about their business.

Keep reading...
Audio
Kizz Daniel in "Eko" (Youtube)

The 9 Best Afropop Songs About Lagos

Featuring city odes from Kizz Daniel, Wizkid, Teni, Maleek Berry, M.I Abaga, Brymo and more.

The best afropop songs about Lagos, Nigeria's most populous city, are as much about the city as a whole as they are about select areas of special importance to individual artists.

Read on for our selection of The 9 Best Afropop Songs About Lagos. Listed in no particular order.

Keep reading...
popular
Still from YouTube

Watch Joeboy's New Music Video 'All For You'

The buzzing Nigerian artist shares his latest single from his debut EP 'Love & Light.'

Rising artist Joeboy shares his new song and video "All For You," one of the standout tracks from his debut EP Love & Light.

The track follows the release of the artist's breakout singles "Baby" and "Beginning," and sees the artist dealing with a love interest who's facing an abusive partner.

"The song is basically about a girl in a relationship plagued by domestic violence," says Joeboy of the song and video. "The girl ends up falling in love with someone else who actually treats her right and therefore she ends up breaking up with her boyfriend because of him. It's a twisted love story between a girl and two guys."

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.