Johnny Clegg was writing autobiography shortly before his death

2019-07-16 20:59
Johnny Clegg

Cape Town - South African music icon Johnny Clegg, who died on Tuesday following a long battle with pancreatic cancer, was writing an autobiography shortly before his death. 

"I’m about 150 pages in and it’s about halfway done," Johnny told Channel24 in an exclusive interview in December 2018.

"I’ve had to wait at times because I’ve done interviews with my old band mates and sometimes, they’re not in the country. The record company that released me in 1983 in England doesn’t exist (anymore) but the owner is still there, and we keep in contact, so I’m going to have to go back to England to interview him and some of the other people who were involved in the very tortuous moments."

Johnny's longtime manager Roddy Quin confirmed his death to Channel24 on Tuesday night in a statement: "It is with immense sadness that we confirm that Jonathan (Johnny) Clegg, OBE OIS, succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 66 on the afternoon of 16 July 2019 at his family home in Johannesburg."

PHOTOS: 19 images celebrating Johnny Clegg's incredible life

During what would turn out to be Channel24's final interview with Johnny he said about the book: "It was during the time of the cultural boycott and South African bands were basically prohibited from touring internationally. So, we had to deal with the anti-apartheid movement, and we had to deal with British Musicians’ Union and it became a huge story.

"There are many layers to the book and other than having to struggle through apartheid, through the Group Areas Act, through the global segregation and not being able to perform in public (as a non-racial band). There was also having to find holes in the system from playing private venues to churches to private school halls; we also played in people’s lounges and at private school halls. 

"Many embassies during the seventies and eighties had these little cultural events where fifty or sixty people came, and we were the requested group. We started to find ways to perform, we figured out that if you play the really rural areas or universities or technikons. So, all of those stories are in there."

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