Clegg set for Cape farewell

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

JOHNNY Clegg says he might be hang­ing up his gum­boots but he won’t stop mak­ing mu­sic.

Clegg, 64, is in Cape Town to pro­mote his Fi­nal Jour­ney World Tour which takes to the stage of the GrandWest Arena on June 30 and July 1.

Yes­ter­day, he rem­i­nisced about his start with Ju­luka and their strug­gles when it came to per­form­ing their mu­sic live in the early 1970s.

Of his fi­nal show, Clegg said it was a “sum­ming-up of my ca­reer” which is au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal, fea­tur­ing videos with his­tor­i­cal footage with pic­tures of peo­ple who shaped his life.

“Ju­luka, Johnny Clegg, Savuka – all of that was re­ally pre­fig­ured in my ado­les­cent years. A few peo­ple, Zu­lus and other peo­ple that I met, (the) mu­sic that I heard, the idea that cul­tural mu­sic was im­por­tant. I was very in­flu­enced by that idea,” said Clegg.

He was di­ag­nosed with cancer in 2015 and un­der­went chemo­ther­apy treat­ment but through­out this he had con­tin­ued to tour lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, un­der­tak­ing a nine-week tour of the US and Canada in 2016.

“I want to hang up my boots af­ter this (tour) and prob­a­bly go into giv­ing talks and lec­tures. I will con­tinue record­ing, putting out mu­sic (but) the days of five shows a week for 10 weeks in a row are now over,” Clegg said.

He says the mu­sic busi­ness is a tough busi­ness and that there are nu­mer­ous “rock ‘n’ roll wid­ows” on the road.

“It’s that very hard life­style. One has to make a real ef­fort to keep fam­ily to­gether. Keep ev­ery­body feel­ing that they’re all on the same bus.

“My wife (Jenny), af­ter we did our 1990 nine-month world tour she left the tour six months in, she said ‘this is not a life’. We went through a rocky pe­riod and then she said ‘I can deal with three months a year but then you must di­vide it up’. We worked on that prin­ci­ple,” said Clegg, sav­ing his 29-year mar­riage.

He and his band were at the height of their fame in 1988 and 1989 when Scat­ter­lings of Africa and Asim­bo­nanga suc­ces­sively went to No 1 on the French pop charts.

“I had No 1 al­bum and No 2 al­bum in the Top 10 al­bum sales. It was ridicu­lous,” mused Clegg.

He says hu­mil­ity has kept him grounded and that at the height of his fame he was not into par­ties or the celebrity life­style.

“I came from a pretty con­ser­va­tive back­ground, es­pe­cially from my mom’s side. I was a se­ri­ous artist.

“I wasn’t out to pull chicks. I was try­ing to get a con­ver­sa­tion go­ing be­tween Western and African mu­sic, that was my mis­sion, and peo­ple (in the apartheid gov­ern­ment) didn’t want to hear it,” he said.

LE­GEND: Johnny Clegg feels it’s time to hang up his gum­boots.

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