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SA government, music industry hail Clegg

SABC News Johnny Clegg Reuters - SA government, music industry hail Clegg

Government has sent its condolences to the family of legendary musician, Johnny Clegg, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 66, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

He died in the presence of his family and friends in Johannesburg.

Clegg was widely respected for his command of isiZulu and his music which united the people in South Africa during apartheid.

The government says Clegg is one of South Africa’s most celebrated sons, a dancer, anthropologist, singer and song writer.

It says Clegg made a major contribution to social cohesion in South Africa.

The award winning singer’s manager, Roddy Quin says Clegg’s passing is a great loss to the country.

Quin says, ”Johnny had been fighting pancreatic cancer for almost the last four years and unfortunately today (Tuesday) he passed away at his home with his family. It’s a terrible loss to the country, to South Africa and to everyone who lives here.”

Mbongeni Ngema has joined other musicians who are remembering Clegg. Ngema has  described  him as a world hero who united nations across the world with his music..

He says, “He played a distinguished role in the unity of black people and white people and all people of colour in South Africa by performing with the black band. His partner, Sipho Mchunu, showed that people that are of white skin and people that are of black skin can actually work side by side . He showed all of us the way. He has been an incredible musician. To his family and his friends I  say let us wipe our tears, the hero is gone. “

South African pop legend, Yvonne Chaka Chaka also has fond memories of Clegg who received numerous awards including Britain’s prestigious OBE. Chaka Chaka says Clegg was a great musician who stayed true to himself.

Clegg was born on June 7 in Lancashire in the United Kingdom in 1953 to an English Father and Zimbabwean mother.

Clegg would be brought up in his mother’s home town later in his life. He was then introduced to South Africa when his mother married a South African when Clegg was seven-years-old.

It is then that Clegg became acquainted with IsiZulu. The musical giant’s command of the language and unique blend of African Zulu Rhythms and Western Pop caught the eye of South African producer, Hilton Rosenthal.

In his later years, Clegg would go on to be the honouree of multiple doctorates and orders including the Order of Ikhamanga. Additional reporting Lulama Matya.

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