Johnny Clegg knew of-he the to of Jacques Brel? “When you only love to speak to cannons and only a song to convince a drum…” A large part of the work of the south-african singer, who died Monday at age 66, will follow this vow. With three titles, one of which, Asimbonanga , dedicated to Nelson Mandela , the worldwide success, the white Zulu will be supported with all his forces, with words, and an original rhythm, the anti-Apartheid struggle, that is to say, the laws of the segregationist that separated blacks from whites in South Africa until their abolition in 1991.
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Universal Men , Scatterling of Africa and of course Asimbonanga will remain the three songs of the founders of the work of Johnny Clegg. The first is a hymn to the zulu people and the expression of his willingness to body with him. “It seems that my life is trapped between two shores….And I also sing in zulu”, has put music to Clegg.
Nelson Mandela danced to the music of Johnny Clegg
The second magnifies the Africa and the cultural diversity of its peoples: “Idea african, make the future clear…”. As to the third, the most famous, Asimbonanga , it is a metaphor on the twenty-seven years of imprisonment of the african leader, the most charismatic of the Twentieth century, Nelson Mandela. “We have not seen, we have not seen Mandela in the place where it is to where it holds them prisoner…”, chante-t-il.
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The first black president of South Africa, Nobel peace prize laureate in 1993, will remember the support and symbolic of the awareness of the international public opinion caused by the song of Johnny Clegg. In 1997, in Frankfurt, he went up on stage to dance to the music and the words of the white Zulu. The song had been, for once, beat the drums of Apartheid.
● Johnny Clegg and the group Jukula: Universal Men (1979)
● Johnny Clegg and the band Savuka: Scatterlings of Africa (1987)
● Johnny Clegg and the band Savuka: Asimbonanga (1987)