News Brief
(Photo by Jo Hale/Redferns via Getty Images)

South African Musical Icon Johnny Clegg Has Died

Rest in peace to one of "South Africa's greatest sons."

South African musician Johnny Clegg, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Johannesburg, following a four year battle with pancreatic cancer, Reuters reports. He was 66.

The artist was the founder of the bands Juluka and Savuka, two mixed-raced bands formed during the apartheid era. He was known as a vocal critic of the apartheid regime, writing the 1987 song "Asimbonanga" for a then incarcerated Nelson Mandela. The song became a rallying cry for South Africans fighting or freedom.

He performed the tribute with Mandela on stage in 1999, which you can watch below.


Johnny Clegg (With Nelson Mandela) - Asimbonanga - 1999 Fran www.youtube.com

Born in England to a Zimbabwean mother, the artist moved to Johannesburg as a child after his mother remarried. He was fluent in Zulu, often fusing it into his songs along with traditional folk music, or mbaqanga.

He earned a Grammy nomination and won a Billboard Award during his decades-long career. He was the recipient of an Order of Ikhamanga in silver—one of the highest national honors given to South African citizens.

"His music had the ability to unite people across the races and bring them together as a community," read a tribute message from the South African government's Twitter page. "We send our sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans. Clegg has made an indelible mark in the music industry and the hearts of the people."

Clegg's work has had a lasting impact on South African popular music, and tributes have been pouring in from fans, supporters, and fellow musicians in remembrance of the accomplished artist.













Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.