Johnny Clegg bows out in style

THE expression saving the best for last found full meaning on Saturday night when South African music legend Johnny Clegg’s last performance of a whirlwind world tour — dubbed “Final Journey” — at Wild Geese in Harare lived up to its billing.

BY KENNEDY NYAVAYA

The show, which attracted thousands of multi-racial fans, could have been done earlier, but had to be postponed several times.

It was, however, worth the wait — at least judging from the crowd’s reaction.

“This is it! The last African leg of the Final Journey, so we have a bunch of songs for you. It’s kind of a musical buffet that we put together for you guys tonight,” Clegg said soon after taking to the stage.

Indeed, the 65-year-old and Savuka band delivered an audacious set, consisting of a unique brand of crossover music and traditional Zulu dances, which lasted for almost two hours, with one 15-minute break in between the fun.

The energy and flawless melodies all reverberated a carnival mood, probably only the Scatterlings of Africa hit maker knows how to create.

As he bows out from an over four-decade long music career, Clegg would have done injustice to his son, Jesse, had he not invited him for a duet performance in a land he Johnny spent part of his childhood.

“It is my first time in Harare and it is a wonderful place to be, thank you and I came to share this moment with my dad and bid farewell to him. Thank you so much. I won’t forget this,” Jesse, a fledgling singer, responded to the gesture.

The duo displaced modern rhythms off Clegg’s 18-album catalogue that features hits like Impi and Kilimanjaro, but when his friend Sipho Mchunu came on stage, it was time for a nostalgic traditional maskanda sound.

“It is nice to be in Harare, especially for my side to come here to help my brother to say good bye, he wants to go back now to spend more time with his family,” Mchunu said during his
stint.

Meanwhile, supporting acts included Flying Bantu, Evicted and songstress Amy Wawn from Bulawayo.
Over four decades, Clegg has sold more than five million copies of albums featuring his brand of crossover music worldwide.

His global farewell tour started with a concert in Cape Town on July 7, 2017, moving on to Johannesburg and heading to London, France, Dubai, the United States and Canada.