NPR : World Cafe

Filed Under:

Johnny Clegg On World Cafe

Johnny Clegg's music has been a powerful force for integration in a divided country, earning him the nickname "Le Zoulou Blanc" ("The White Zulu").

Growing up in culturally diverse but segregated Johannesburg, South Africa, Clegg developed a playing style that combined Zulu and Celtic folk traditions. In the '70s and '80s, Clegg's bands Juluka and Savuka brought black and white musicians together onstage, an illegal act under Apartheid. As a result, their music was banned from radio play and concerts put them at risk of arrest. But on the strength of their unique sound and powerful political messages, their music became a word-of-mouth hit.

In the late '80s, Clegg became famous throughout South Africa and beyond with "Asimbonaga," a song that became an anthem for the fight to release jailed anti-Apartheid activist (and future president) Nelson Mandela. Today, Clegg is one of the most famous South African musicians in the world. He recently wrapped up a U.S. tour in support of his latest solo album, Human, his first state-side release in 14 years.

"What kept us going is we knew we were making a new kind of music," Clegg tells host David Dye. Hear their conversation, plus a live performance, on today's World Cafe.

Copyright 2011 WXPN-FM. To see more, visit http://www.xpn.org/.

NPR

National Museum of African American History Opens Its Doors

More than 100 years after it was originally proposed, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is opening its doors in Washington, D.C.
NPR

While Everyone Was Partying At Woodstock, I Was Stuck At Schrafft's

The chain restaurant that catered to women helped redefine how Americans eat, according to a new book. For NPR's Lynn Neary, it also defined how she did and didn't fit with the counterculture.
NPR

Newspaper Endorsements Matter Most When They're Unexpected

The New York Times endorsed Hillary Clinton on Saturday, but an endorsement that came the day before from a smaller paper may matter more to its readers, for the simple fact that it was unexpected.
NPR

As Our Jobs Are Automated, Some Say We'll Need A Guaranteed Basic Income

How will the economy provide economic opportunities if employers need fewer workers in the future? A growing number of people in Silicon Valley are saying the only realistic answer is a basic income.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.