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.

Keep reading... Show less
News
(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.

Keep reading... Show less
Interview

Africa Express' New Album 'EGOLI' Is a Journey Into the Sounds of South Africa

We speak to Moonchild Sanelly, Muzi and Mr Jukes about their contributions to the new album.

Africa Express is back with the entrancing new album, EGOLI.

Throughout its 18 tracks the music collective, which was co-founded by Damon Albarn, concentrates on the sounds of South Africa. The entirety of the new record was recorded in just a week of collaborations in Johannesburg.

EGOLI includes buzzing South African names like Moonchild Sanelly, Sho Madjozi, BCUC, BLK JKS, FAKA, Mahotella Queens, Muzi, Morena Leraba, Nonku Phiri, Radio 123, and Sibot. It also features a posthumous track with DJ Spoko.

Other notable acts heard across the record are Damon Albarn, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gruff Rhys, Ghetts, Blue May, Mr Jukes, Georgia, Poté and many more.

Standout tracks include the album's lead single "Johannesburg"—a breezy and addictive production that blends Gruff Rhys' soothing vocals with hip-hop beat work and additional delivery from Morena Leraba, Radio 123 and Sibot.

OkayAfrica spoke with Moonchild Sanelly, Muzi and Mr Jukes about their contributions to EGOLI below.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.