Yvonne Chaka Chaka Pays Tribute to Johnny Clegg: “He Chose Us”

Yvonne Chaka Chaka has paid tribute to South African legend, Johnny Clegg, who died recently at the age of 66.

Speaking about the late singer in an interview with Timeslive, Chaka Chaka described him as a legend who chose to embrace Africans and the culture over the white man privilege that was on the table during apartheid.

“We have lost a great legend. Johnny was just one of those (amazing) people. He could have stayed (just) as a privileged white man but he chose and wanted to learn about the African culture – the dance, the music and just embrace the culture. We have lost a great musician and patriot… may his soul rest in peace,” she said.

Yvonne remembered the first time she met Clegg – a memory she says will forever stay with her because of the kind of person he was.

“When I first heard about Johnny Clegg, I think it was in 1979 or 1980 as a young girl in Soweto… you know listening to his songs such as Impi and Ibhola Lethu. I was very lucky that when I started singing in 1985, I met him formally in 1986.

“I remember the shows in Ellis Park, where we would all be together with people like PJ Powers, Johnny, Steve Kekana, Hotstix Mabuse… Those were really united shows, where people of all colours came to enjoy music.”

It was just amazing being there… we were trying to listen to these guys, who were trying to speak French to usI remember Ray going ‘I want kuuukuuluuu kuu!’ (which was supposed to be a chicken clucking sound) and Johnny going ‘Mooooooo’ because he wanted beef. Those are some of the nostalgic times, I will treasure,” she recalled.

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