South Africa’s legendary Johnny Clegg has been honoured by Queen
Elizabeth II with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire
(OBE). The popular South African performer described the news as a
The 62-year-old said this award re-energises his dreams and
commitments to South Africa in a very special way.
The British High Commission in Pretoria announced the news earlier
today in a statement saying Buckingham Palace has released the 2015
Birthday Honours list and the British High Commission is delighted
to announce that South African artist, activist and philanthropist
Johnny Clegg has been honoured with the Officer of the Order of the
British Empire (OBE).
Clegg posted a message on Facebook saying: It’s a tremendous
moment for me to receive this honour and acknowledgement expressed
in this award.
It has been a long journey of more than 30 years, from when I first
began to experiment with truly South African cross-over music, and
at the same time becoming a cultural activist in the struggle
Our music was banned or restricted on national radio, as well as
shows being closed down from time to time by apartheid’s security
police; we were faced with many obstacles that we had to contend
Johnny Clegg at Kirstenbosch 2015, reunited once again with his
Juluka partner Sipho Mchunu (Sorry no poto)
Having worked with The End Conscription Campaign, the Trade Union
Movement and the Free the Children in Detention Campaign, resisting
forced removals of rural communities, fund raising for the United
Democratic Front, amongst other progressive causes, this award
re-energises those dreams and commitments in a very special way.
British High Commissioner to South Africa, Judith Macgregor, said:
This is a recognition of Johnny’s unique services to the Arts,
vulnerable people and children and to democracy in South Africa. I
am particularly pleased that we are able to celebrate his
achievements of the past three decades.
We continue to work with Johnny and others to ensure that the
positive change that they have secured will continue to have a
long-lasting impact on generations to come.
Clegg has had an impact on South Africans of all shades and ages
for over three decades. On his birthday just last week (7 June)
Marguerite Nokuthula de Villiers, photographer of the photos on
this page, paid tribute to him saying: In 1999 my Grade 3 teacher
told our class about the White Zulu. We were in a small, English
private school in Johannesburg. The idea of a white man speaking
isiZulu fascinated me. I wanted to be like him.
It is because of his cross-over music, passionate performances, and
anthropological insight into what it means to be South African,
that he is a valuable role model.
Congratulations Johnny Clegg!!
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