Johnny Clegg promoted the Zulu language across the globe. Picture: SHELLEY KJONSTAD

Durban - As tributes continue to pour in for legendary musician Johnny Clegg who died on Tuesday, the Zulu monarch has sent his condolences saying he is deeply hurt by the passing of a man who sang in and spoke the Zulu language as his mother tongue.

Expressing condolences, the spokesperson of the Zulu monarch, Prince Thulani Zulu, said Clegg defied apartheid laws in order to work with his long-time music partner and friend, Sipho Mchunu to form the band Juluka. The band went on to dominate the local music scene in the 80s and some of their songs have attained the status of unofficial national anthems.

“Clegg shot to the spotlight during the dark days of apartheid when blacks and whites were not allowed to work together and he worked with (Sipho) Mchunu. He also looked beyond the lines of apartheid and worked with black people. That shows he never believed in the apartheid system of segregating people according to race. We wish that the country can have more people like him, people who look beyond race. We can say he never had apartheid leanings in his blood,” the prince said.

He added that Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, like the rest of the country and the global community, was heartbroken to learn that the man who was also called the 'White Zulu' and who promoted the Zulu language across the globe was no more and passed his condolences to the Clegg family and to Mchunu.

“The king is with the family during this dark hour. He is heartbroken by Clegg’s passing and he sends his condolences to the family of the singer. Equally, the king is sending his condolences to Mr Sipho Mchunu who worked with Clegg for a long time. This loss to Mr Mchunu is huge and we know that he is heartbroken as it is as if he lost a piece of his body and soul.”

The prince added that the king was proud of Clegg as he sang Maskandi, a popular Zulu music genre that is known across the globe and is used in several adverts to market the Zulu kingdom to the world.

Political Bureau