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Kurt Darren remembers Johnny Clegg: 'He had a way of speaking to you as if he saw you yesterday, even if you hadn't spoken in five years'

2019-07-17 13:53
Johnny Clegg
Johnny Clegg (Photo: Getty)

Cape Town - Speaking to Channel24 local singer and songwriter Kurt Darren remembered his last moments with Johnny Clegg and the memories they shared.

South African music legend Johnny Clegg died on Tuesday at his home in Johannesburg

When asked about his fondest memories of Johnny replies without hesitation: "I met Johnny many years ago, but a time that stands out was in 2008 when I did Madiba's 90th birthday in London, Hyde Park. We were on the bill together with a whole lot of international artists." 

"I had to do a duet with Eddy Grant, and we were there for about two weeks. It was a trying time for me because Eddy and I were not getting along," he explains. 

He then goes on to say that during those two weeks he met with Johnny and his manager, Roddy Quin, for breakfast on several occasions, and it was Johnny's words that kept him "calm and sane."

"He had this way, a softness about him. He was like a father figure to me for those two weeks," says Kurt, with a quiver in his voice.  

Kurt also remembers a more recent encounter with the legendary musician, when a group of musicians honoured Johnny in Sandton, and the pair got talking about "those times they shared." 

"He looked unwell. I told my wife: 'Johnny is really, really ill.' He had a beanie on and a big thick coat. Being such an icon and a legend and it was so sad to see him like that." 

"But even through that, he carried himself with grace. He didn't have to prove his presence. He had this ability to make everyone feel comfortable around him," he says when asked how Johnny would be remembered. 

Kurt adds: "He had a way of speaking to you as if he saw you yesterday, even if you hadn't spoken in five years - he had that quality and grace about him."  

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