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There’s a song to be sung:  Critical reflections on the music and influence of Johnny Clegg

Posted: June 20th, 2022 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Proposal submission: 30 September 2022
Full chapters due: 30 June 2023


As a South African musician, anthropologist, ethnomusicologist and cultural activist, Johnny Clegg has had a significant impact on the South African musical landscape. His career, which began with long-time friend SiphoMchunu in the 1970s, spanned 5 decades and involved success with Juluka, Savuka and as a solo artist, both in South African and internationally. During the apartheid era he experienced police harassment and broadcast censorship and became overtly involved in South African cultural politics, being instrumental in the formation of South African Musicians Alliance. He became embroiled in debates around the cultural boycott. Academically, Clegg had an honours degree in Anthropology and lectured in Anthropology for four years before turning to music full time. He presented and published academic papers with a particular focus on Zulu music, dance and culture. In 2015 he was honoured with an OBE. His death in July 2019 cut short an active and engaging musical career. In 2021 an autobiography, Scatterling of Africa, which covered his early years, was published.

The proposed volume on Johnny Clegg’s career hopes to explore these different avenues of Clegg’s life and influence.

Possible topics

These may include but are not confined to:

  • Analysis of specific songs, albums or themes across albums
  • Consideration of any stage of Clegg’s career
  • An analysis of Clegg’s academic and autobiographical writing
  • Clegg’s success in France or other countries
  • Clegg and the cultural boycott
  • Clegg’s negotiation of apartheid laws
  • Clegg’s relationship with Zulu culture
  • Clegg and the South African Musicians Alliance

Please send 250-500 word proposals and a brief author biography to Michael Drewett [email protected]

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