Step back in musical history for one night only, with Johnny Clegg’s 30th Anniversary Concert on Saturday, 27 August at the GrandWest Grand Arena. The two-hour concert will reunite the original Juluka band, as well as the subsequent Savuka and Johnny Clegg bands. To complete the effect, the show will feature dancers and audio visual footage spanning the entire period. The show also marks the first occasion that Juluka has performed in Cape Town since their last concert here 26 years ago.
Clegg’s infectious and catchy blend of Western pop and African Zulu rhythm broke through cultural barriers even during the turbulent years of apartheid, and many of his recordings have come to be regarded as anthems of Africa. Clegg is equally popular in Europe, where he was bestowed with a French knighthood. UK-born Clegg arrived in South Africa at age seven, when his Zimbabwean mother married a South African journalist. The couple exposed the young Johnny to township life from an early age.
While lecturing in Anthropology at Wits University he began blending English lyrics and western melodies with Zulu musical structures. Johnny, and his song-writing and music partner Sipho Mchunu, were signed up to an independent label and the band Juluka was born. Despite an initial ban on their music by the SABC, word of mouth drove up sales of albums.
Three decades have passed since then and the singer, dancer, songwriter, anthropologist, academic and musical activist has now sold over 5-million albums worldwide. He has performed at all four of Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Aids Awareness Concerts in South Africa and in Norway, and Mandela joined him on stage during the rendition of Asimbonanga, a song written by Clegg about Mandela and other struggle heroes.
Clegg’s famous hit Impi is still played regularly in rugby stadiums throughout the country. Another firm favourite with South Africans is Great Heart, which was written for Dudu Ndlovu, Clegg’s Zulu dance partner from his Savuka era. The song was also included in the sound- track for the film Jock of The Bushveld and The Crossing. Fans will also recall hits such as I Call Your Name, Scatterlings of Africa, African Sky Blue, Take My Heart Away, African Shadow Man, December African Rain, Kilimanjaro, Fever and many more.
A former Grammy nominee and Billboard Music Award winner, Clegg was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Wits University for his contribution to music. He still regularly tours around the country and abroad. Clegg also became known for his outspoken views on apartheid, his opinions on migrant workers in South Africa and the general situation in the world today.
The show starts at 20h30 and doors open at 19h30. Tickets are available from Computicket between R161.00 and R212.00.