Johnny Clegg - dancer, anthropologist, singer, songwriter, academic, activist and French knight. Whilst all of these tags are fitting, none of them can accurately describe the energetic, passionate human being who has become one of South Africa's greatest musical exports. He has campaigned against the injustice of apartheid South Africa and been instrumental in putting the new South Africa on the map as a cultural ambassador. More info on Johnny's life and achievements is available here.
Recently awarded three honorary doctorates from Dartmouth College, CUNY and University of the Witwatersrand, Johnny, a former Grammy nominee and Billboard music award winner, still tours regularly, both at home and abroad, with dates pegged for 2014 in Europe and north America. Be sure not to miss his dynamic live act should it come your way. A list of current tour dates is available on this page.
USA tour dates for 2014 - venues selling out fast!
Emperor's Palace Johannesburg - Unplugged
7.02 Emperor's Johannesburg - book here
9.02 Emperor's Johannesburg - book here
MANDELA (with author's corrections as of 14/12/2013)
(poem written by Johnny Clegg and recited at the `CAPE TOWN MEMORIAL DAY 11, Cape Town stadium 11 TH DECEMBER 2013
Izinyoni ezimbili ezindiza phezulu
athi abone inkunzi emnyama yaseQunu
eboshiwe esibayeni sabelungu for 27 years ..
athi ayibona lenhunzi iyaqwanda , iyanikinika ikhanda
iyabodla ithi :" sincane lesi isibaya , ngoba esami isibaya siwumhlaba wonke jikelele!
manini bantu bakithi, ngoba ngiyeza…."
nangempela wahluleka uDF Malan , wahluleka uVerwoerd, wahluleka uJohn Voster , Wahluleka uPW Botha
wazewathamba uFW De Klerk wathi ;" Sangathi baya phunyuka bemphethe lenkunzi
ngoba noma uzoqamuka ngapha uzodibana nendoda , noma uzoqamuka ngapha uzohlanagana nendoda , noma uzoqamuka
ngalena uzonyathela phezukwendoda"
sisho wena Madiba !!
iphupho elihle elika Ngubencguka
ngoba bazele ipompi elinganasivalo
lokhu ligeleza umoya ka-freedom
lithi: "how can you be free if I am not free and how can I be free if you are not free?"
uphondo olukhulu olugwaza isibahabaha sezulu
khona lizophuma ilanga libakhanyisele laba abamhlophe
okwezindaba ezixoxwa ePalamende
zisadinga wena Madiba
ngoba uyakhuluma, uyabulabula, uya-buwa, uya-praata , uyathetha 'macala
abanikazi be-English bayadumala ngoba uyabahlula ngolimi lwakubo
bazebabamba umlomo , bebamba ongaphansi ngoba ongaphezulu kunezindenda namafininyilo
ukhamba olukhulu olugcwele inhleko nomusa
uma uthi ayphuza uzothola
amanzi amtoti woxolo
translation:( this poem is written within the classic tradition of Zulu praise poetry and some phrases use exclusive idioms that cannot be precisely translated. I have tried my best !)
two birds flying in the sky
whereas they were crows
and they were struck by the portentous
event they saw below
they said they saw a black bull from Qunu ( Mandela's birthplace)
trapped in the cattle enclosure of the White People for 27 years
they say they saw the bull pawing the ground, shaking its head from side to side,
and bellowing " this enclosure is too small for me , for my true enclosure is the entire world ,
wait for me my people for I am coming …"
and indeed , DF Malan failed, Verwoerd failed, John Vorster failed, Pw Botha failed until FW De Klerk
softened and said " It is clear that this bull breaks those who think they are in charge of it
because if you were to appear from here, you would discover a Man , and if you were to appear from over there
you would still discover a Man , and if you were to appear from far yonder, you would have stepped on a Man!" (i.e. you will find him a man , from any direction and any perspective - always the same, true to his warrior nature and therefore also trustworthy)
we praise YOU Madiba
child of Gadla (Mandela's father's name)
son of Mphakanyiswa( Mandela's father's second given name )
beautiful dream of Ngubengcuka ( Mandela's great , great , great grandfather , king of the Tembu Tribe)
Happy are the Tembu
for they have sired a faucet
that cannot be closed
it (the faucet) says: "how can you be free if I am not free and how can I be free if you are not free?"
that constantly pours out the spirit of freedom
great horn that stabs the sky
so that the sun can appear and give light
to those white people still sitting in the darkness
of the matters that are discussed in Parliament
they are still in need of you
because you speak in all languages and preside over all deep issues
the owners of the english language are overwhelmed that you can use the language with such facility
they are so amazed that they grab their bottom lip because the top lip is too close to the mucous membrane
great clay pot full of laughter and kindness
great barrel that has no handles
drinking cup of the Tembu
such that if you drank it
you would find the sweet waters of forgiveness .
hamba kahle Tata
My family and I send our condolences to all the Mandela family members on the passing of Tata.
We also share with every South African as well as the global community our sense of loss and sadness at his passing.
Nelson Mandela will always define a deep part of what and who we are as individuals and as a nation. It is difficult to separate the great journey to secure a democratic and non-racial South Africa from his personal qualities and character. For all South Africans he was the face and form of that voyage, particularly in the crucial decade of 1990 – 2000.
In the defining and tempestuous years of 1990 through to April 27th 1994, his leadership was never overwhelmed by events, even in the darkest hours of Boipatong, the assassination of Chris Hani and other atrocities that were meant to derail the negotiations . When at times we felt doubt or fear, his strong resonant voice rolled out over the radio or TV and, like a tide going out, our reservations about the future receded.
We took immense nourishment and succor from his fearless and positive attitude. His charismatic openness, straight aim, sense of humour , direct but respectful communication with his opponents was a singularly rare quality in an environment of racist and right wing demagoguery. A turmoiled South Africa needed to feel that the Ship of State, riding the storm, was in good hands and Madiba never gave us cause to doubt that the storm would pass and the country would be free. It is the qualities of tolerance and forgiveness however which stand out as his lasting legacy as well as the way he used these to unite the country both during and after his presidency.
With all our fellow south Africans we acknowledge with deep gratitude the debt we owe to this humble and great statesman from Qunu, who bequeathed to us this great country of promise. Today, although we grieve, we also proudly rejoice in his remarkable life, which we were privileged to share through extraordinary times.
Hamba Kahle Tata!
Johnny Clegg and Family