South Africa: The Astounding Journey of a White Zulu Rocker

opinion

After a more than four-year-long battle, British-born South African Zulu-rock icon, Johnny Clegg, finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer in July. Family friend for nearly 40 years, Chris du Plessis, reminisces about Johnny's journey through everything from searching for and becoming a father, to science-fiction films and a Zulu tribal leader called Chief Queen Victoria.

Jonathan Paul Clegg's lifelong friend and musical ally, Sipho Mchunu, chokes on his words by the grave side as he bids his best friend a final farewell. The he suddenly thrusts his clasped hands out in his frustration to find the words, throws his head skyward and emits a muffled, heart-ripping "Hamba Kahle!" before imploring Johnny not to fear the journey he is poised to embark on.

"Do not be afraid to meet your fathers and your peers umfowethu (my friend)". He addresses Johnny by his clan-name Skeyi - borrowed from the "skei" part of the Afrikaans word jukskei - the wedge that fixes cattle to the "juk" (yoke) or wooden brace that binds them to their load. His friend, Sipho pronounces as a hush envelops the concentrated gathering, has now been freed from his bonds...

Msinga Valley, KwaZulu-Natal, 1983

The massive bank...

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