South Africa: Travelling With a Teenage Johnny Clegg - 'The Voice of the White Zulu Angel'

analysis

A rare insight into the teenage Johnny Clegg, on a journey through southern Africa, guitar in hand, on the brink of his extraordinary career.

Johnny was 15 and I was about to start at Wits following conscript military service in the SA Navy. A friend and I purchased a 1948 Land Rover for R400 and planned to spend the year-end holidays driving through southern Africa - with a personal budget of all we could afford, R80 each.

We needed four people to have the R300 we estimated the trip really would cost, plus a contingency. I had "recruited" a teacher from the school where I was teaching until Wits began - we needed one more. An ad in the Johannesburg Star classifieds elicited a call from a wonderful woman, in the music industry, saying she had a son in high school who was kind of different but would be good on such a trip, would we accept him?

I really only cared that he/she had R80, but we went through the formality of a personal interview - which made sense as were going to be cramped in the Landie and camping alongside it for eight-plus weeks.

So Johnny Clegg became...

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