South Africa: We Are All Scatterlings of Africa – the Music and Magic of Johnny Clegg

Johnny Clegg’s autobiography is a lyrical book by and about a lyrical man who reminded us that we are all scatterlings of Africa.

Scatterling of Africa is a must-read for any fan of the late Johnny Clegg and the magical music he and his warrior mates made. This reviewer had vaguely heard of Clegg and his bands Juluka and Savuka before arriving in South Africa in 1998. I was immediately drawn to his music, which lit my path to the wider world of African music.

Clegg died of cancer in July 2019 and had not completed this manuscript before his death – the editor, in a note, says it was “an unfinished manuscript”. Yet it captures in poignant fashion Clegg’s early years.

This lively memoir takes readers on a journey through the fascinating life of Clegg, who was born in England and spent his childhood in the racist regimes of South Africa, Rhodesia and then Zambia in its infancy as an independent country. Clegg recalls his time in Zambia as “the happiest period in my pre-teen years” – a country full of promise that had shed its colonial skin.

As a teenager in Johannesburg, Clegg, who was considered Jewish by…

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