Mango Groove's Claire Johnston: 'There's a hole in the world now that Johnny is gone'

Johnny Clegg (Photo: Getty)
Johnny Clegg (Photo: Getty)

Cape Town – South Africa is mourning music legend, Johnny Clegg. 

The anthropologist and talented artist died at his home on Tuesday. His manager Roddy Quin confirmed the news to Channel24 via a statement. 

In the statement, he said: "Johnny leaves deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers him/herself to be an African. He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity. An anthropologist that used his music to speak to every person. With his unique style of music, he traversed cultural barriers like few others. In many of us, he awakened awareness."

Channel24 reached out Mango Groove's Clare Johnston who toured with Johnny in the late eighties and performed at the same festivals as the 66-year-old throughout his career. 

The Special Star singer spoke about working with Johnny and remembered his incredible work ethic and beautiful smile.

She explained: "When I first met Johnny, I was really young. I looked up to him, and I wanted to be him, in a way. A very inspirational character. He was a kind man. That's the side I saw of Johnny. Some of my memories of him include hanging out backstage when we opened for him and Savuka in the late eighties. "

She reflected his unique view of the world and his drive, saying: "Johnny had a fantastic work ethic. He was a game-changer. He thought about how he wanted it to be, I loved that about him. He was an idealist, but I think a realistic one. "

About his charismatic disposition, she said: "He had that beautiful smile; I would call it a wry smile really. A lot going on, but he didn't always express all of it. "

She ended off by reflecting on her one big regret: "We never shared the stage, in all those years, which is strange when you think about it. It makes me really sad that we were never on stage at the same time. There's a hole in the world now that Johnny is gone. There will only ever be one Johnny Clegg."