In this file photo taken on June 16, 2014, South African singer Johnny Clegg performs during the 20th edition of the World Sacred Music Festival in Fez, Morocco. Photo: Fadel SENNA / AFP
South African legendary singer Johnny Clegg, who blended Zulu rhythms with Western styles and defied apartheid segregation, died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, his manager said.
“Johnny passed away (with) his family this afternoon after a four and a half year battle with cancer,” manager Roddy Quinn told SABC news.
“It is with immense sadness that we confirm that Johnny Clegg… succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 66 on the afternoon of 16 July 2019 at his family home in Johannesburg,” Quinn added in a statement.
“Johnny leaves deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers him/herself to be an African.
“He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity.
“With his unique style of music he traversed cultural barriers like few others. In many of us, he awakened awareness.”
Nicknamed the “White Zulu”, he mastered the language, culture and high kicks of Zulu dance, forming multi-racial bands in defiance of the segregationist laws of the apartheid-era government which censored his work.
Clegg was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 but continued to tour and perform around the world.