Dartmouth Commencement 2012: Biography of Johnny Clegg



Johnny Clegg (courtesy Johnny Clegg)

Doctor of Humane LettersSouth African musician, cultural activist, and anthropologist

One of South Africa’s most celebrated sons, Johnny Clegg was born in England and grew up in his mother’s native Zimbabwe, and later South Africa. A singer, songwriter, dancer, anthropologist, and musical activist, his infectious crossover music—a vibrant blend of Western pop and African Zulu rhythms—has broken down barriers in South Africa. In France, where he enjoys a large following, he is fondly called Le Zulu Blanc—the white Zulu.

Over three decades, he has sold more than five million albums worldwide. He has wowed audiences with his live shows, including performances with Nelson Mandela, and won a number of national and international awards for his music and for his outspoken views on apartheid and migrant workers in South Africa. He has released two dozen albums, the most recent of which is Human, in 2010.

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