Johnny Clegg was a gift from God - Sipho Mchunu

South Africa is mourning the death on Thursday of music legend Johnny Clegg, the performer the French dubbed "the White Zulu".

He passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 66.

RELATED: 'May we repeat Asimbonanga, with the words, we remember you, we saw you, Johnny'

As the tributes pour in, Bongani Bingwa speaks to Sipho Mchunu, who co-founded the band Juluka with Clegg at the height of apartheid.

Their music incorporated traditional Zulu styles like maskandi before the group disbanded in 1985.

That time was very heavy, the policies were very heavy... We couldn't walk together in the street, the police chased us, sometimes they put him in jail.

Sipho Mchunu, Co-founder - Juluka

He was just a gift from God

Sipho Mchunu, Co-founder - Juluka

He was more than my brother... My heart is broken.

Sipho Mchunu, Co-founder - Juluka

Mchunu said despite the danger of being seen together they managed to make music and he taught Clegg his Zulu style sitting in the streets.

I taught him on the pavement to play the guitar and the concertina.

Sipho Mchunu, Co-founder - Juluka

Veteran broadcaster and former Ukhozi FM station manager Dr. Bhodloza Nzimande remembers how Clegg helped to re-popularise maskandi when the urban population was moving towards westernised music.

At the time when Juluka came up with the maskandi music it was good for me to see that, because I was understanding that our people were running away from our traditional music.

Bhodloza Nzimande, Veteran broadcaster

I said to myself, I am going to use these people like Juluka, the people who are really going for this type of music... it was not fashionable during apartheid...

Bhodloza Nzimande, Veteran broadcaster

Clegg was an anti-apartheid man, we are sad that he has left.

Bhodloza Nzimande, Veteran broadcaster

Another internationally acclaimed singer, Yvonne Chaka Chaka also pays tribute to Clegg's musical legacy.

You can conscientise people through music and Johnny managed to do that. He could have stayed a privileged white man but he befriended a gardener, learned the art of Zulu, learned the African dance... he spread this thing in the whole world.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Singer

Listen to the tributes to Johnny Clegg below:


This article first appeared on 702 : Johnny Clegg was a gift from God - Sipho Mchunu


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