31 January 2018

South Africa: Johnny Clegg's Poignant and Personal Final Journey

analysis

Johnny Clegg was never going to bow out quietly. Despite battling cancer, he felt he owed his fans a proper farewell, and for the past several months he's done shows across the US, and in Canada, Dubai and London during his The Final Journey world tour. TONY JACKMAN caught the penultimate show of the tour in Port Elizabeth, the home town of several of his band members.

Good Hope Centre, Cape Town, 1986. Just another windy Struggle day in the Mother City. It's getting on for 10pm and Johnny Clegg and Juluka are singing Scatterlings of Africa near the end of their concert, which is being recorded and set to become a South African classic of a live album. Everyone is holding high a little Bic lighter, a shifting sea of lights representing the hope in many hearts. Everyone smoked back then.

The scatterlings were the exiles. Three years earlier, in 1983, the song had been released in the UK - a year after its South African release - and had broken into the UK Top 40. New Musical Express ran a review at the time by a critic who didn't think much of the song because he thought the...

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