Africa has lost a hero, but death does not have the victory.
When people die, they leave the world because they have completed their mission here.
The loss of one of South Africa’s most celebrated musicians, Johnny Clegg is indeed a great loss to the entire African continent.
Johnny Clegg is a renowned activist and musician. He was honored by ex-South African president, Nelson Mandela for his role against apartheid.
Known as the "white Zulu", he was a vocal critic of the apartheid government which ruled until 1994.
The music icon and activist died at the age of 66, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Although Johnny Clegg was born in Britain, he never forgot his roots. All through his long and successful career, he uniquely blended western and Zulu music and entertained the world.
Unlike many ‘white’ South Africans who lived during the Apartheid era, Johnny Clegg was very vocal against the Apathy regime. He used his music to speak against the treatment which the white South Africans vented on the blacks.
Nelson Mandela recognized Clegg’s contribution and especially appreciated him during an event which he performed while they were both alive.
His best-known hit Asimbonanga, released in 1987, was dedicated to none other but Nelson Mandela.
Meaning "We have not seen him" in Zulu, the song was one of the first to openly call for Mandela's release.
At the time, the future first black president of South Africa was still in jail and considered a threat to the apartheid state.
Clegg - a white man who learned to speak and sing in Zulu - became a symbol of democratic South Africa and was chosen to sing at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in 2013.
His long-time music manager, Ronny Quinn, who announced the news of his death, said Clegg left "deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers himself or herself to be an African".
"He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity."
Tributes have been pouring in for Clegg, including from the South African government.
Clegg broke the law to play with black musicians back in the era of racial apartheid when such mingling was banned, says the BBC's Andrew Harding in Johannesburg.
Clegg began his career 40 years ago with Juluka, a mixed-race band, which he formed with the black guitarist, Sipho Mchunu.
At that time, much of his music was banned from the airwaves and his public performances were limited until apartheid ended in 1994.
"We had to find our way around a myriad of laws that prevented us from mixing across racial lines," he told AFP news agency in 2017.
Johnny Clegg was diagnosed with cancer in 2015.
Header Image Credit: International News