1953-1969 (the younger years)
1953 Jonathan Clegg was born 07 June in Rochedale, outside Manchester, UK.
1954 Johnny Clegg taken to Israel with mother and grandfather
1955 Back to Zimbabwe
1960 Boarding School Lilfordia
1960 Murial Braudo Clegg marries again to Dan Pienaar and the family move to South Africa
1961 Sipho leaves home aged nine, and travels to Durban 1964 The family move to Zambia for a year
1965 The family Return to Johannesburg.
1966 SiphoMchunu travels to JHB and works as a gardener Johnny enters Athlone Boys High School
1967 Johnny Clegg meets Charlie Mzila
1968 Johnny Clegg runs away from home for a month
1969 Johnny meets Sipho Mchunu. Tribal Blues – first performance of Sipho and Jon
1954 – Memories of life in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) as a small child.
"I landed up going to Israel for a year and then went back to Zimbabwe where I was brought up on a farm in Gwelo in Silukwe, up until the age of six. I have one or two recollections of Zimbabwe, but they are particular events that stood out in my mind. I remember when I was three or four, running across the farm at night to call one of the labourers. I saw a shape by the fence and got a hell of a fright. Actually it was a bull standing very still at the fence. When I ran past it, I thought that it was a monster so I ran breathless to the labourer. When I walked back with the labourer I held his hand and he told me it was ‘just a cow’. So I have this recollection of a vivid ‘monster’ becoming a mundane cow. I also remember walking with the cattle herder, herding the cattle, when I was about five. We stopped on this ridge and he pointed his finger and where he was pointing there was this herd of antelope - just standing there. I was completely amazed. It was like magic and the young herder was the master of the magic. He had pointed it out whereas I couldn’t see it in the landscape. I had to watch where he pointed and suddenly the landscape came alive. It was like a conjuring trick and he was the magician. I also remember a dog - an Alsatian. They say that as you get older your childhood memories, although fragmented, become more and more vivid. I have a memory of this dog chasing after a train that I was on. I remember a lot of train journeys because we used to come to Johannesburg often. I remember putting my head out the window and getting bits of coal in my eye from the engine up front. I remember the smell of the green leather seats, the blue blankets and the white sheets. It was an overnight train and I remember this warm, happy feeling of getting into the bunk bed, as we were moving. My best friend on the farm in Zimbabwe was the son of the chauffeur and his name was All Right. All Right and I had a very ‘all right’ relationship…"
1959 – First experience of boarding school
"My mother was a jazz singer and she went on tour in Zimbabwe so at the age of six she put me into boarding school for six months. Now I was a spoilt only child living with my grandparents, with my mum and my aunt, her husband and my cousins on the farm. It was a huge extended family and suddenly I was ripped out of that and put into a boarding school on my own. It was a very traumatic time for me and I’ll never forget it, and it was the first time in my life that I realised I was on my own. I went through a strong separation anxiety. She would come every two weeks to spend an afternoon on the Sunday and it was always devastating for me. All the hildren would be crying."
1960 - "Then she married a South African journalist Dan Pienaar – an Afrikaner intellectual. She was still trying to develop her professional singer career; he was an Afrikaans crime reporter who was going into the townships and seeing apartheid South Africa from the belly of the beast. He amplified my natural experiences. He had a great kwela music collection, he was an intellectual with a very high IQ and he had terrible identity problems with being an Afrikaner. We moved to South Africa and I remember we had a problem with our passports, we had an immigration problem because when we came across in 1961, South Africa had become a republic, and we never had the immigration stamp our passports. So we were considered illegal and had to apply for immigration status. There’s huge irony in that. It was the time of the Rivonia Trials and Dan took me into the townships when I was about eight or nine."
1964 – Experiences of life in Zambia as a young boy.
"In 1964 my family went to Zambia for a year. Dan was sent there on a journalistic job and contract. I was placed in a black school with black pupils and teachers, whereas before I’d been in white schools. Zambia had just become independent and I had more black friends than white friends. I had a great time there. I have very warm, fond memories of Lusaka. It was wild and very open. I had a lot of friends and we travelled everywhere on bicycle. There was an incredible sense of freedom. I remember hunting birds in the cemetery. There’s a huge cemetery in Leopard’s Hill Ranch Road. We used to go out there with our ‘catties’ (catapults) for whole weekends, shooting birds, eating them and generally living off the land. We were like wild savages. I made my first wire car and we had a wire car gang. The thing for me that was very powerful was that there were little, traditional villages just outside the main town. It was very bushy, a lot of thick vegetation, and as night fell you could hear the cries of the people shouting to each other across the valleys. The smell of a particular wood burning would drift across to us. You would get Black Forktail Drongo’s - birds that, as the sun was setting, would fly straight up into the air. They would hover there for a moment, flutter flutter, and then fly straight down again. I would sit there on the porch and watch these birds fly up and down and hear these people shouting to each other, and laughing, and I would smell the smoke. I got a real sense of being connected to life in a very powerful way. I felt as those I was part of a life that was unfolding. All my senses were alive. I felt connected to an ongoing flow. I have a strong recollection of that. I have a potted recollection of the Zimbabwean times but I have a very strong connection to Zambia because I was older, nine or ten. I was growing and becoming aware. What I liked about Zambia was that it was unfinished. The town was unfinished, even the houses were unfinished. We stayed in Lusaka, in a suburb called Woodlands. The garden kind of ended and then there was jungle. There was always this concept that this was a bush town. It was very open and we would play at the army base as well. They had these old Saracens and these broken down tanks. We would go there and play war, sitting in the tanks. There was plenty riding of bicycles onto the bush trails, past villages and really feeling that there was a new discovery to be made every day. It was a wonderful time for me. I also discovered that different countries have different social systems. There was no apartheid and it was a black run country, and when I came back to South Africa I had to return to a white run school." 1965 – Johnny Clegg returns from Zambia to apartheid South Africa.
"It was an epistemological rupture, having to return to South Africa. I was twelve when we came back. The first five years of my primary school career, from grade one to standard five, I went to Lilfordia, Marist Brothers Koch Street, Roseneath, Yeoville Boys, Kensington South and Woodlands Primary. I went to six different schools in three different countries in five years. One of these countries was not an apartheid country. By the time I was eleven I had to adjust and lose my preconceptions. I was very gregarious, outgoing and I was a good storyteller. I was always able to share my feelings on how I saw things unfold. I was able to communicate because I wanted feedback on my own feelings. Even now I have a deep curiosity as to whether my feelings are the same as those other people are feeling. I’ve always been a storyteller. However, when I got back to South Africa I was actually a loner. I developed strong relationships with single people and I was never part of a clique or a group. When you get to high school there are gangs, but I was never part of that. You must also realise that at this point my father was taking me into the South African townships so I was seeing a different experience of black separation. At the time he was teaching a bugle band in Alexandra how to play the drums."
1967 – Meeting Charlie Mzila and learning, for the first time, how to play the Africanised Maskande guitar.
In Standard seven I met Charlie Mzila. I met him in 1967 and Sipho Mchunu in 1969. Charlie Mzila taught me guitar and Bhaca dancing. I meet him as I was running an errand to the shop. He was standing outside the shop playing the guitar. At the time I was learning classical Spanish guitar, and I watched him playing and thought, "That guitar is tuned completely differently." It was very weird because he was using finger picks, and playing it differently to what I could ever have imagined. I was quite shy and sidled up to him. Charlie was 24 years old when I met him. I was very short for my age and didn’t look like I was thirteen or fourteen. I looked about twelve. I looked at the guitar and thought it was incredible. He started singing and playing and it was the first time in South Africa that I got a similar sense of freedom as in Zambia. Suddenly there were possibilities for a new and open world. The urban environment closes down the possibilities that are presented in a rural environment. And here the music was speaking about that. It was saying ‘I come from a rural area, I’m a tribalist, I’ve taken a journey.’ I asked him if he could show me how to play, and he couldn’t speak English so we had to communicate with gesture. He laughed and showed me where he worked. It was in Bezuidenhout Street, the corner of Bezuidenhout and Francis Street in Yeoville. The next day after school I went up to his flat building where he worked. I went with my very expensive, classical guitar whilst he was playing a cheap Bellini steel string guitar made in Pinetown. The sound that it made was incredible, so I said to my mom, "I want you to buy me a Bellini guitar." She was horrified, but she was a musician so she also understood. That was the one incredible thing about my mother, she had dreamed of being Ella Fitzgerald, so she understood the desire to have one’s music cross cultures and genres. So we started by playing on the roof of his building. He would teach me things then I would go home and practice on my Bellini on my roof. I had this thing that I had to be on the roof to learn the guitar. So I would climb on the servant’s quarter roof and play. I used to play this thing over and over again until my mom would go mad. She once described the repetitiveness of it as ‘the sound of a dripping tape’. I had been learning the Spanish guitar but the Bellini guitar had been reconceptualised, even Africanised in order to create the maskande sound. The thumb was playing a bass line, which actually worked as a melody. In classical guitar, the root note is a chord. Meanwhile in maskande, the forefinger would be playing a counteracting melody line. Then you had to sing a melody and still shout out a praise name every now and again as well. So I started to get a whole bunch of these riffs under my belt and I got some of the patterns down and soon I became quite proficient at playing and singing. In fact if you closed your eyes, you might have thought it was a Zulu singing. But I didn’t know what I was singing. I was learning in rote fashion. Then I slowly started to learn the language. I was able to focus strongly. I used to go with Charlie for practice sessions with the team at the Hospital Hill hostel. It took place on Tuesday and Thursday nights and I would learn to dance with the team. Initially in the first six months I made a complete idiot of myself, but just to be part of that, part of these men – serious individuals in their own right and world, was amazing. For me it was an honour being able to dance with these warriors. That’s what they were. They weren’t shop assistants or cleaners they were warriors. I didn’t see them at work; I only saw them as dancers." 1968 – Johnny Clegg learns stick fighting and describes the experience of hostel life, and migrant workers.
"My school friends thought it was cool but dangerous. The ‘Swart Gevaar’ was already part of the white subconscious at that point. I remember giving a talk on ‘stokveg’ in an Afrikaans class. I showed them how stick fighting worked. In the end the speech was more about the fact that I’d managed to learn it at all, a difficult thing in the city. I bunked a lot. I ran away from home in 1968 to Zululand with two other boys on our bicycles. We managed to get as far as Ermelo and then we caught a truck to Mkuzi. We stayed on a farm there for nearly a month and then the police arrested us. It was such a magical time for me. Apartheid South Africa was a terrible place but it was so exciting for me. I was actually living in the whole country, not just the white part of it. We went to Zululand because I wanted to live with the Zulus. I imagined myself to be some sort of cultural Tarzan. What’s important, is that for many South Africans, we had a sense of being pioneers. Even now we’re pioneers, this country is a new democracy and we don’t know what’s going to happen. Then and now we live in a frontier town. I had a strong sense of that as a child. We’re not like the sedate, sedentary democracy of Europe. I have no connection with the British, apart from that of my biological father. There’s either a right way or a wrong way there; there’s no new way, unlike in Africa. When I came to a fence, which apartheid was, my approach was to say where are the holes in the fence so that I can get through? I got arrested and I got into trouble but everywhere I wanted to go, I went. I never ever asked why is there a fence in the first place. Only when I got to university did I start to question it. I questioned the fact that I had to sneak everywhere. I snuck around the hostels, I was always under cover, and I was under pressure. I used to go to the hostels on the weekends, and at school on the Monday I’d tell my friends about this unbelievable world. On the weekends the hostels would open it up and it would be as though a cultural carpet had been thrown out into a square kilometre around the hostel. You’d see traditional healers, people building shields, shoemakers, prostitutes, young boys cooking offal, the smell of burning braai meat with urine, diviners divining on the pavement, dance teams, people selling fighting sticks and spears. I’m talking about 1967,’68. It was really traditional and everybody was in traditional gear. There were women with huge beautiful purple headresses, and black I’dwaba and men in their white vests and black pants, with Zulu dancing sandals and cow tails around their pants. They would be wearing the ama bande, the armbands worn around their arms, discussing and talking local politics. There would be professional letter writers – I thought this was the most incredible world. Because of Charlie I was inserted into the culture relatively easily. They thought I was the guy from emabomveni, a specific hostel. When I left their dance team and joined Sipho’s these guys wanted to start a war. They said he’s stolen their white boy. We had to meet and finally sort it out. I was sixteen and I would arrive at the hostel and the dance team would come out to the gates. Then I would go into the middle of the dance team and they’d sing and dance like they usually do and go back into the hostel, with me in the middle. So the guards, the blackjack municipal guards couldn’t see me. We’d go into a room and that’s how we’d practice. But every month or so the police would raid the hostel, searching for stolen goods, dagga, whatever reason and one day there was this racket next door and the police appeared at the door. Now there were 60 dancers in the room and all the beds were up against the wall to make space. I was right at the back and they couldn’t see me and I thought I was in deep shit, so I shrunk down and then this one young Afrikaans guy spotted me, and he was shocked. He came in and he said, "Are you all right?" When I said yes he asked me what I was doing in the hostel. I told him I was learning how to dance. He said, "It’s all right you can speak" and he kept reiterating that I was now safe. So the dance leader, an older and distinguished guy, Zwane came over and said that I was a dancer and that I danced with them every Saturday. This poor guy, you could see the penny wanted to drop but he couldn’t fathom it out. He came over and he said, "But what are you doing here? You’re not allowed to be here." Then he told me I was breaking the law and they took me out of the hostel. They took me back to my mother’s place and she opened the door to see me standing in between these two very polite, concerned Afrikaans policemen. They told her where they’d found me and that it was very dangerous because bodies come out of the hostel every weekend. Which is very true, because there’s feuds and faction fighting going on all the time. My mother was concerned, but what I had done prior to this, I had brought Zwane to meet her. He met her in our lounge with four or five other elders. It was a clever move because she saw that there were these very respectable gentlemen running the dance team. But she didn’t know what a hostel was. Now the first time I was arrested, the team said "They’ve come to take the white boy" and there wasn’t much of a resistance. When I came back after that and showed persistence I was arrested again, they put up a fight and stood up for me in front of the police."
1969 – Meeting Sipho Mchunu for the first time
"I had a good Zulu vocabulary, but I couldn’t put the words together. It all clicked when Sipho came into my life, because Sipho couldn’t speak English. He was a total traditionalist and he had a great sense of humour. In the end I learnt Zulu through humour and music. He had heard about me from Charlie’s cousin, who from some weird fate worked next door to him. Sipho said, "I heard there was this white boy singing and playing guitar?" One day he looked me up, he arrived at my flat in Muller St. in Bellevue. I came home from school on my bike and there was this guy waiting outside the flat. He said that he wanted to compete with me - he’d heard about me and because it’s a competitive field, he wanted to see if I was ‘for real’. So in 1969, Sipho challenged me to a guitar duel. And he was far better than I was. So there he was, standing outside my flat with his guitar. It was incredible; I’ll never forget that guitar. It had mirrors, plastic soldiers stuck onto it with glue, money stuck on, beadwork, reflectors – standard stuff, and inverted bottle caps. The guitar was incredible. He came into my life and now he’s my oldest friend.Sipho was a gardener. He left home when he was nine, when his father died. Then he went to Durban and finally got to Johannesburg. For him, the world was a frontier. Look at his life, he’s a pioneer. There are no models or set roles that he played. He created his life. Sipho landed up becoming an incredible visionary in his own right. He’s built two schools for his community. He’s got 35 children, one of them a coloured son in France, he’s toured the world – and he started out not being able to read or write. He never saw a white person until he was about seven or eight. It was the last generation of black people who were far removed from white contact. He came out of that and landed up on Good Morning America and appearing on television in Germany. It’s a huge distance to travel. For me, the most important thing about Sipho was his sense of humour. He could make me laugh. I understand the syntax of his humour, he has to say one word and we’re rolling on the floor. There was no sacred cow that could not be pulled down and analysed. Nothing was sacred. He’s also a great commentator on human foibles, particularly when people act out of some kind of fear. He’s amazing in capturing things. I remember the first two or three years with him, we just laughed and did crazy things; we got into trouble, we got arrested. He had an incredible curiosity in his own right. Already I was bigger than my actual accomplishments. People were fascinated by the concept of a white boy who crossed over into tribal urban culture, who was dancing and stick fighting and playing guitar, who was seen in the shebeens and on the roof tops with migrant workers, playing maskande music. I was a well-established personality, getting arrested and harassed by caretakers. My praise name later referred to these incidents. ‘They hate you in Killarney, they hate you in the flats, you are hated by the caretakers. They hate anyone who eats pap with the people.’ It was something that had to happen, whether to me or to any other kid. It had to happen. These were the events that led up to my life’s journey. And they even had an impact in the migrant labour community. You know that when I arrived in Makabeleni, on the bus, for the first time, everybody knew me, they’d heard of me. By the time my first single with Sipho was played on the radio in 1976, I was already at university, my story was like a national urban legend, and things became conflated. I would hear that Sipho was my gardener. It was totally part of the white psyche, a white interpretation – Sipho never worked for me. He was my friend. It is an unbelievable story, I know, the way it happened, the things I crossed through culturally, all these lead to the building of a new and alternative reality. I still hear some crazy things - Sipho was never my gardener. He was his own man. He found me; he tracked me down. He came to my place to challenge me and he did it in my kitchen. What happens is that you play songs to each other, and after he’d played the first song I knew he was way better than I was. I had a tape recorder and I taped him. He’d never seen a tape recorder before and he got a fright and said, "What is this?" I said, "it’s a tape recorder" and then he asked me what that meant. I said, "It’s like the radio, when you hear people on the radio, how do you think they get there?’ And he said "You have to go there" and I said "Sometimes they tape you here, then they take the tape and play it on the radio. "Ah…" He was very suspicious, and then he said "Play another one" and then "Play it again". He kept playing back his music, because he was enamoured that the machine could catch him so alive. Those kinds of things are weird to talk about today. He was so innocent. He couldn’t read and he couldn’t write… You know that’s the first line out of the song Universal Men. ‘They could not read and they could not write / and they could not spell their names / But they took this world in both their hands / and they changed it all the same." It refers to Sipho and all the migrant workers. That is the wonder of Sipho.So he beat me and told me to come to his place where he stayed in Lower Houghton. I gingerly arrived there a week later on the Wednesday. It was his day off. I had to go through this private house, and I snuck into his quarters. I got there and he had bought a tape recorder, he was beaming, and he said "Here’s a cassette, I’ve made some songs for you." So I sat in his room, andI listened to the music. Then I took my guitar and I started to play counter melodies. I took his tape home and the next week I met him again. What happened was that I started to develop a relationship with the tapes he was giving me of his own music. It was a bit how I imagined Simon and Garfunkel to be. We were a duo. That’s how Johnny and Sipho started. And then we started to perform. Our first gig in public was at Des and Dawn Lindberg’s soiree."
1970 – First public performances as a duo.
"No first, we did a public show at the University Great Hall in 1969. It was a show called Tribal Blues, put together by David Marks. We performed as a duo. We did three or four songs, and did some dancing on stage. That’s where Sipho got one of his praise names, because he stamped so hard he fell through the stage. The audience thought it was a part of the act and they stood up with a standing ovation. He’d actually fallen fifteen feet, it was a huge drop, but he was saved by a series of wires strung across the under area. Otherwise he would have broken bones. We did some shows in churches after all we could only play in private venues, because the apartheid laws meant segregation of blacks and whites. We couldn’t play in public, so we played universities, for NAFMA, SAFMA, at schools, private venues. But it was problematic, even on the campuses the police would try and close the show down. As a duo, we played on the street and people were constantly trying to stop us, even the general white public were conservative. I remember we were once chased by off duty firemen when we walked past the fire station. These guys started to taunt us, yelling "Vuilgoed". There was official harassment and there was also harassment from the general public, whites who didn’t like it. I remember on our first trip to Zululand, I nearly got killed. We drove down in an old Valient that the dance leader Zwane had bought, full of ‘soldiers’ going down for the chief. I was sitting in the back, and Zwane proceeded got so drunk that the second in command told him to stop and he would drive. So he sat in front of me drinking and then he fell asleep. When we got to Dundee he woke up and saw me and said, "Who are you?" "You’ve stolen my car." He grabbed the car keys and threw them out the window, so we spent 45 minutes looking for the keys on the road. When we finally found them, we drove on to about Glencoe. Then Zwane took the car again, and we were driving these winding dust roads, high in the mountains. Suddenly the car hit a rock. We came around the corner on the edge of the cliff, and there was a big rock, and as the car turned it skidded and it the rock. If the rock hadn’t been there we would have all gone over the cliff. We stopped the car, and got out. Nobody said a thing, nothing was said. We just stood there, everybody in there own moment. Then we got back in the car and it was never spoken about again. It was a wonderful magical time where I was made a member of the family. I was introduced to the reality of tribal culture, incredibly raw and organic, and coming from a secular Jewish background, it was a profound experience. It was also the first time I saw real stick fighting. There were these two groups sitting under the trees, and then the one guy got up and went for someone and hit him on the head. Then his brother got up and tried to hit the victorious guy. Then this melee broke out. Then as suddenly as it started it ended. It happened quickly, it was bizarre but so many components of stories that I’d heard were acted out. It was a great three days, before we were kicked out. The security police arrested me. Sipho was also arrested even though we had the permission of the chief to be there. The police threatened me with deportation. They told me that it was enough to be deported back to England. But Sipho was very smart. In those times when you entered a black area, there was a green board with white writing that said "You are entering a prescribed group area" and you needed a permit to enter. When the magistrate asked how Sipho could just bring people in, Sipho asked "In where?" It turns out there wasn’t a board there, so he got off on a technically. I was arrested two or three times later by the Greytown security police. There was a guy called Ben Majola who was a security police informer, and I had to go past his store. He’d see my car and tip the police off in Greytown. I’d arrive and we’d be unpacking and then the cops would arrive. So we worked out that I would bypass Greytown and go through Nkhandla – which had it’s own black magistrate. So I would get a permit from him and it would be legal for me to be in the rural area. It drove the police mad."
Jonathan (Johnny) Clegg, born June 7, 1953 in Rochdale (near Manchester), Lancashire, (UK), is a popular musician from South Africa, who has recorded and performed with his bands Juluka and Savuka. Sometimes called "The White Zulu", he is an important figure in South African popular music history, with songs that mix Zulu and English lyrics, and African / European / Celtic music styles.
Already in his youth, Johnny Clegg, a white, English-speaking person with what he called a "secular Jewish" upbringing in the UK, Israel, Zimbabwe (formerly known as Rhodesia), Zambia, and South Africa, became interested in Zulu street music and took part in traditional Zulu dance competitions.
As a young man, in the early stages of his musical career, he combined his music with the study of anthropology, a subject which he also taught for a while at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he was influenced, among others, by the work of David Webster, a social anthropologist who was assassinated in 1989.
Clegg formed the first inter-racial South African band, Juluka, with gardener and Zulu street musician Sipho Mchunu. Because it was illegal for inter-racial bands to perform in South Africa during apartheid, their first album Universal Man received no air play, but it became a word-of-mouth hit.
Juluka's / Clegg's music was both implicitly and explicitly political: not only was the fact of the success of the band (which openly celebrated African culture in a non-racial band) a thorn in the flesh of a political system based on racial separation; the band also produced some explicitly political songs. For example, the album "Work for all" (which includes a song with the same title) picked up on South African trade union slogans in the mid-80's. Even more explicit was the (later) Savuka album "Third World Child" in 1987, with songs like "Asimbonanga", which called for the release of Nelson Mandela, and which called out the names of three representative martyrs of the South African liberation struggle: Steve Biko, Victoria Mxenge, and Neil Aggett.
The following albums "Shadow Man" (which sold 250 000 copies within a week after its release went on to sell more than 1 000 000 copies in France alone), and "Cruel Crazy, Beautiful World" were dealing with more romantic topics, including "Cruel Crazy Beautiful World", where a father gives a message to his son, "Dela" where the very essence of love is explored, and more politically focused songs, such as "Warsaw 1943" and "One (Hu)'man one vote" which go back to political messages. The blend of topics is somehow confusing at first but gives an idea of the creative process underlying it, while the music and lyrics retain all the talent of the singer and his band. "Third World Child" and "Shadow Man" occupied 1st and 2nd position respectively in France and became the most successful foreign band in France and "Shadow Man" topped the charts in Montreaux, Canada. During the prime of the band in 1988 Michael Jackson had to cancel his show as he attracted fewer audience as compared to Johnny Clegg and Savuka. Their last album Heat, Dust And Dreams was nominated for a Grammy Award for best album in the category of World Music.
Juluka were able to tour in Europe, and had two platinum and five gold albums, becoming an international success. Juluka was disbanded in 1986, when Mchunu was asked by his father to return home and herd the family goats, although Mchunu made some solo recordings afterwards. Clegg went on to form his second inter-racial band, Savuka, continuing to blend African music with European, especially Celtic, influences.
Briefly reunited with Mchunu in the mid-90's, Clegg reformed Juluka and toured throughout the world as the opening act for King Sunny Ade, as well as headliner performances.
The name Juluka is based on the Zulu word for "sweat", and Savuka is based on the Zulu word for "we have risen" or "we have awakened".
Clegg and his band often make an international tour during May-August (South African winter). However, the tours are usually limited to France and surrounding countries. In June 2004, the Johnny Clegg Band toured North America for the first time in over eight years, doing 22 concerts in one month. Even though they had no albums for sale in North America during those eight years, and no significant media coverage, they filled most of their venues. At the close of the final concert at the Keswick Theater in Philadelphia, Clegg stated that he was amazed at the reception they had gotten, and promised to return the following year with a full band. He then thanked his Internet fans for their support.
The band returned to North America in July 2005, with dates booked throughout the U.S. and Canada. Clegg's new album One Life was remixed at Real World Studios in Bath, England, and released on October 30th, 2006 in the UK.
Savuka's song, "Dela", was featured on the soundtrack of the George of the Jungle movie (1997).