Johnny Clegg with back-up singer Mandisa Dlanga, performing at the Old Mutual Music at the Lake Concert, Durban Botanic Gardens in 2013. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Port Elizabeth - Award-winning film producer Anant Singh has lamented the death of South Africa's music legend, Johnny Clegg, who died on the afternoon of 16 July at his family home in Johannesburg.

"It is with deep sadness that I learnt of Johnny Clegg’s passing. Despite knowing that he was battling pancreatic cancer, the news of his passing is still a shock," Singh said. 

"Johnny was a very good friend and I was in huge admiration of his work. He was a trailblazer who created a legacy that will be with us forever.

"He demonstrated his love for his fans and his strength when he embarked on ‘The Final Journey’ World Tour despite having pancreatic cancer."

Singh said Clegg assisted them in getting licences for East Coast Radio and Radio Oranje (OFM) through his knowledge of music and understanding of South African audiences, thereby contributing to the development of the stations into market leaders.

"His song ‘Asimbonanga’ which he initially performed with Savuka was dedicated to Madiba while Madiba was still in prison and became one of the most popular struggle songs in the 1980’s," Singh said.  

"Johnny performed this song at the 46664 Concerts in Hyde Park, London for Madiba’s 90th Birthday, and in Tromso, Norway in 2011. 

"On one occasion, during a concert in France in 1999, Madiba surprised Johnny on stage while he was performing the song," he said. 

Clegg was humble and true to his African roots, says Singh of the music icon who was known for his firm anti-racism stance during the apartheid era. 

"We have lost a great son of Africa," Singh said, adding that the music legend's passing was a loss for the South African and international music industry. 

"We will miss him, but he will always be with us through his music," he said. 

"My sincere condolences go to his wife Jenny and sons Jesse and Jaron. I wish them strength and fortitude during this difficult time of loss."

African News Agency/ANA