On Wednesday, the song and accompanying video, filmed at the gathering in September, were played to Clegg for the first time at a private event where he performed for friends and lifelong fans at Ellerman House hotel in Bantry Bay, Cape Town.
When the special version of The Crossing was unveiled, Clegg said: “I am speechless, thank you so much. This is an amazing moment for me - to have so many of my peers acknowledge the song and its sentiments, and that they can use that to further something much bigger than all of us.”
The evening saw the launch of Friends of Johnny Clegg, a fund created in his honour to help alleviate the education crisis in South Africa. All proceeds from downloads of this version of The Crossing will go to the fund.
Friends of Johnny Clegg artists who collaborated on the track include Abigail Kubeka, Ard Matthews, Arno Carstens, Bobby van Jaarsveld, Dan Patlansky, Dave Matthews, David Kramer, Dorothy Masuka, Gloria Bosman, Jimmy Nevis, Jack Parow, Jason Hartman, Clegg’s son Jesse Clegg, Kahn Morbee, Yati Khumalo, and many more.
Kubeka said: “I was honoured to be invited to be part of this project. Johnny Clegg is one of our greatest musicians in South Africa. For him to think of helping others when he has a challenge of his own is typical of his nature and of musicians in this country.”
Matthews said Juluka mixed culture and music in a way that had never been done.
“It broke down barriers. They joined the forces working to expose the hate-filled cruelty of the old South African system. And their music is slamming.”
Vusi Mahlasela also paid tribute.
“Johnny Clegg is a true icon. I’ve always admired his pioneering sound.
“He is a musical soul and he lives his life with the spirit of ubuntu.
“I’m honoured to be part of this project, which is going to change the lives of many young South Africans.”