• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

His passing ignites the spirit of togetherness, like Mandela

Did you know that once Michael Jackson had to cancel a concert in France because there were not enough bookings owing to a sold-out Johnny Clegg concert that was scheduled for the same day?

This is according to East London’s Stuart Mattison (66) a long-time friend of Johnny Clegg (66), the South African musician, social activist and anthropologist who succumbed to pancreatic cancer last week.

Mattison and photographer, Eddie Peinke (44), spoke to Eastern Cape Rising Sun about their fondest memories of the Juluka lead singer who performed his last East London show in 2015 at the Old Selbornian Club. “I met Johnny in 1979 while he was studying Anthropology at Wits University. This around the same time he met Sipho Mchunu and formed the band Juluka. We used to watch them perform to small crowds at university and the next thing you know, they were touring the world,” recalls Mattison.

He remembers him as a great father who was a simple man who did not care for the riches of the world. As a political figure, Clegg was always trailed by the police, who, at one point shot and killed his close friend. Clegg hired a guard for his home gate for eight years.

Peinke was the official photographer at the 2015 concert and he met the musician back stage. “He had been diagnosed with cancer by then, he was so tired but was willing to make the people happy. I have never missed any of his concerts, since I was 12-years old, I must have seen about six in East London. Clegg loved East London. His style of music was different from the jazz I grew up with, it was groovy, crossed racial and cultural way. His passing has once again ignited the spirit of togetherness, almost same as Nelson Mandela,” said Peinke.


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