CAPE TOWN – Two alleged hijackers were wounded and arrested during a shootout with police in Harare, Khayelitsha in Cape Town this week, Western Cape police said on Sunday.
"Our endeavours to clamp down on hijackings paid off when vigilant members of the K9 unit spotted a hijacked VW Polo at Foni Street, Harare and arrested two suspects aged 30 and 36 for possession of two prohibited firearms and ammunition and possession of a hijacked vehicle," Captain FC van Wyk said.
On Thursday night, officers attached to the K9 unit were on patrol when they received a police radio broadcast of a hijacked vehicle in Kleinvlei.
"They were immediately on the lookout for the vehicle, a VW Polo Vivo," he said.
At about 8.45pm they spotted the car in Foni Street, 31 Block, Harare, Khayelitsha, and a vehicle chase ensued. The occupants of the car started shooting at the officers who returned fire. The two occupants of the car were wounded and were arrested.
They were currently in hospital under police guard. Two firearms and ammunition were confiscated. The suspects were expected to appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court as soon as they were discharged from hospital.
"With the recent spate of shootings and murders on police in the Western Cape, particularly on the Cape flats, police management expressed their relief with this success and applauded the SAPS members for their bravery, Van Wyk said.
Billy Porter struggled to find a fashion house willing to create his gender-fluid outfit for the 2019 Academy Awards.
The 49-year-old actor showed up to the Oscars in a head-turning custom tuxedo gown created by inclusive designer, Christian Siriano, in February, and now the star has revealed he received a lot of "pushback" from fashion houses who were unwilling to help him create the iconic look.
He said: "I went to the Christian Siriano show, and I’ve loved him since ‘Project Runway’. I remember distinctly the challenge where they had to make clothes for regular-sized people.
"It’s in his DNA to be inclusive with his work. So if anybody was going to help me do this, it would be him. Because we had already come up against a lot of pushback. When we would ask for male and female things because I wanted to do a gender fluid thing, many houses were saying, ‘We don’t think he should wear that.’
"Once again, a silencing. So I went to Christian’s show, and I went to the after party. I was dancing with Christian, I whispered in his ear. I said, ‘I’m doing this Oscar thing and I want you to make me a ball gown.’ And he literally was like, ‘Call the office on Monday.’"
And Billy – who shot to fame following his appearance as cabaret performer Lola in the Award-winning Cyndi Lauper musical ‘Kinky Boots’ – insisted he wants his looks to be reflective of him as a brand and an activist for inclusivity.
He told W magazine: "So here’s what happened. I really began to try to figure out business-wise for myself. I am the business, I am the brand. Trying to start thinking in that sort of relationship to myself. What is my brand?
"I know that for certain that my brand will also include fashion in some way. Fashion is hard to break into from the theatre. It also is hard to break into when you’re above a certain age. But that’s cool, it didn’t matter. For me. I’m going to do it anyway."
President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Sunday at 6pm respond to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s finding that he deliberately misled Parliament on the R500 000 donation received from Bosasa for his 2017 ANC Presidency campaign.
LISBON — Portuguese authorities say 1,000 firefighters are working to contain wildfires that have injured eight firefighters and one civilian.
Portugal’s Civil Protection Agency says Sunday that firefighters are combating flames that broke out Saturday across three fronts in the district of Castelo Branco, 200 kilometers (124 miles) northeast of Lisbon, the capital.
Authorities say the injured civilian has been evacuated to a hospital and that firefighters are being supported by 10 firefighting aircraft and hundreds of vehicles.
This is the first major wildfire in Portugal this year.
In recent years, the country has witnessed some of its deadliest fires on record, with 106 people killed in 2017.
That year’s death toll prompted the Portuguese government to back stronger firefighting prevention measures, leading to no wildfire deaths in 2018.
** This blog was written by Guest Author Melissa Luies**
For many people, watching porn is a popular pastime, but few will admit to it or openly discuss it. According to www.dailyedge.ie; here are some essential facts you need to know.
As you might expect, men watch it a lot more often than women
A survey conducted by Cosmopolitan found that 56 percent of male respondents watched porn every few days, compared with just 25 percent of women.
And it seems to be younger men who are doing much of the consumption.
Back in 2009, scientists attempting to conduct a study on pornography consumption sought out men in their 20s who had never watched porn and, well, they couldn’t find any.
The study subsequently found that single men watched porn for 40 minutes, three times a week. Men in a relationship watched porn on average for 20 minutes, 1.5 times a week.
But that’s not to say women don’t watch it…
Pornhub, one of the world’s leading porn sites, released data last year showing exactly what ladies are watching when it comes to porn.
And it turns out that ladies enjoy watching same sex pornography, with lesbian porn leading the way. Lesbian porn tends to be popular amongst straight women on account of the fact that women are front and centre.
Hang on, there’s porn that’s exclusively for women?
Indeed there is.
Many of the most prominent porn sites feature porn for women, and there are several other websites devoted exclusively to female-friendly porn and erotica. That is to say, porn that doesn’t just feature women as objects.
Men watch too much porn and you may have trouble getting it up
One study found that men who watched porn on an everyday basis were likely to grow desensitised to violent or hardcore imagery, and may even have hassle getting it up.
Men who watch too much porn tend to engage in higher levels of masturbation, which can in turn lead to erectile dysfunction.
People like to keep it local when it comes to watching porn
According to data released by Pornhub, the top search term in several countries was the country itself. For example, here are the top search terms in the following countries…
The South African National Editors’ Forum has responded to allegations of it being so-called foot soldiers of billionaire philanthropist, George Soros, saying they are not being controlled by Soros after receiving funds from him.
Marvel unveiled its bumper slate of new superhero movies Saturday, wheeling out a who’s who of Hollywood stars and prompting a collective meltdown at Comic-Con as it ended frenzied speculation over the most lucrative franchise in film history.
Johannesburg – Embattled President Cyril Ramaphosa tried to shift the blame for the money laundering finding against him to controversial Bosasa boss Gavin Watson, saying the businessman was the one who routed the R500 000 donation through a third party.
In his 51-page response to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s office before the release of her final report, released by the Presidency on Friday, Ramaphosa denied any involvement in money-laundering.
The president claimed he neither knew of the donation itself nor the route by which the money ended up in the CR17 bank account, which was used to raise more than R200 million for his ANC presidential campaign in 2017.
He said if there was anyone to blame for money laundering, it would be Watson because he was the one who transferred the funds from his personal account into the account of Miotto Trading, a company owned by Margaret Longworth, a sister of Bosasa’s former auditor Peet Venter, and then into the CR17 Attorneys Trust Account, managed by law firm Edelstein, Farber and Grobler (EFG) Attorneys.
“If there is any basis for the public protector’s suspicion, the suspects would be Mr Watson (who routed his donation through Miotto Trading), and Mr Venter (who in turn made the transfer to CR17). The public protector interviewed all three of them but does not disclose the explanation they gave for routing the donation via Miotto Trading.
“It means that she either did not ask them or that she asked them but chooses not to disclose their answers,” said Ramaphosa.
“Either explanation is intriguing. If the public protector harboured any suspicion and interviewed the suspects it would be very odd for her not to ask them for an explanation.
“If, on the other hand, she asked and they offered an explanation, it would be equally intriguing and inexplicable that she chooses not to disclose it.”
In the response, prepared by Peter Harris of Harris Nupen Molebatsi Inc, Ramaphosa maintained that neither he nor CR17 had any knowledge of the route by which Watson’s donation reached the bank account.
He insisted he “did not even know of the donation itself, least of all the route by which the money had ended up with CR17”.
In his affidavit submitted to Mkhwebane, Watson confirmed that Miotto was the company “of my erstwhile personal accountant and tax adviser Venter.
“In his aforementioned capacity, Venter would on occasion make payments on my behalf. The payment of R500 000 was made from my personal account and by my secretary in order to enable Venter to effect payment of the donation,” he said.
Watson said he “did not receive a tax benefit” and the “entitlement or otherwise to such benefit did not influence my decision”.
He also denied making a similar donation to the ANC presidential campaign of Ramaphosa’s rival at the time, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. “I have never made a donation to Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma”.
However, Mkhwebane rejected Ramaphosa’s explanation and found him guilty of deliberately misleading Parliament and failing to declare Watson’s donation to his ANC campaign.
In her final report released on Thursday, Mkhwebane found the president guilty of violating the executive code of ethics and the Constitution.
Mkhwebane said the improper relationship between Ramaphosa and his family on the one side, and the company African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa on the other side, raised the suspicion of money laundering.
“I have taken into account the facts as well as prima facie evidence before me, I am therefore of the view that there is merit to the allegation relating to the suspicion of money laundering as alluded to in the complaint lodged with my office,” she said.
Interrogating the financial transactions that took place within the campaign and its donations, Mkhwebane found that the campaign team set up a trust account called EFG2 to receive donations which they said were around R200m.
However, the transactions that were scrutinised revealed that the money was between R800 and R900m.
It was moved around between EFG2 and Ria Tenda Trust, Linked Environmental Services and Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation.
“From the evidence received by my office, an amount of more than one hundred and ninety-one million rand (R191 482 227, 43) was deposited into the EFG2 Absa trust account between 6 December, 2016 and 1 January, 2018 and just over one hundred and ninety-one million rand (R190 108 227) was transferred out of this account in the same period,” said Mkhwebane.
“Evidence from bank records reflect that an amount of over three hundred and eighty-eight million rand (R388 544 340, 34) was deposited into SBSA Ria Tenda Trust account between 1 January, 2017 and 20 February, 2019 whilst nearly the same amount (R388 518 464, 55) was transferred out of it in the same period.”
She said records also reflected that R441m was deposited into the FNB account of Linked Environmental Services between December 15, 2016, and February 13, 2019, and almost the same amount was transferred out of this account in the same period.
At least R335 738.42 was transferred from Linked Environmental Services FNB account into the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation between July 20, 2017, and March 26, 2018.
She also questioned three separate donations of R30m, R39m and R51m from the same donor, between March and September 2017, asking what the person sought to gain in return.
“On the above revelations relating to exchanges of large sums of money, some of which received from private companies, I wish to express my preliminary view that such scenario, when looked at carefully, creates a situation of the risk of some sort of state capture by those donating these monies to the campaign,” Mkhwebane said.
In her remedial actions, she called on National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to refer Ramaphosa’s violation of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interest for Assembly and Permanent Council members to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interest, for consideration in terms of the provisions of Paragraph 10 of the Parliament Code of Ethics, within 30 days of receiving the report.
In addition, Modise had to demand publication of all donations received by Ramaphosa because, as deputy president at the time, he was bound to declare such financial interests into the Members’ registrable interests register in the spirit of accountability and transparency.
Mkhwebane also ordered National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi, to further investigate the prima facie evidence of money laundering.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said Ramaphosa would be studying the report but lamented Mkhwebane’s alleged failure to consider a substantial response to the Section 7 (9) notice dealing in detail with areas where the preliminary findings were deficient both factually and in law.
“It is unfortunate, however, that from a cursory reading of the final report, it seems that the president’s response to the Section 7 (9) notice has not been given due consideration. Nonetheless, the president will study the public protector’s report and make a decision on any further action,” she said.
Johannesburg – EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu has accused billionaire businessman Johann Rupert of looting the country and accumulating “ill-gotten wealth” owing to apartheid and his whiteness.
In a heated exchange of text messages between the two men in February last year, which emerged this week, Shivambu also vowed to continue exposing the “criminal capitalist system” which he accused Rupert of presiding over.
Rupert is the chairman of companies such as Remgro and Richemont, among others.
The text messages show that Rupert had taken issue with Shivambu’s claims of looting and accused the EFF MP of disrespect.
“I have not looted anything and am very disappointed in you for this BS. Thought you were more honourable and intelligent than this. Goodbye and good luck,” Rupert said.
Shivambu then told Rupert he needed to surround himself with people “who understand political dynamics and articulations”.
In response, Rupert accused Shivambu of treating him with disdain.
“I have known many people much older than you like Steve Biko and Madiba, and they never treated me with such disdain and disrespect. Furthermore, as my very old friend Jabu told you when you said that you are “watching him” because I gave Lewazi a break 10 years ago, as head of the Taxi association, you should watch it.”
On Saturday, Shivambu confirmed his text exchanges with Rupert.
Rupert denied sending Shivambu a text, saying he did not even have his number.
He accused Sunday Independent journalists of making “wrong noise” because they worked for “wrong people”.
New African champions Algeria started their reign with a sprint, while a disappointed Senegal slumped to the turf of the Cairo International Stadium.
In that moment on Friday night, the Lions of Teranga wouldn’t have minded if the stadium opened up and swallowed them. But it didn’t, and it was up to their coach Aliou Cisse to pick them up. The former Senegal captain rallied his troops with an emotional speech as he knew exactly what they were going through.
Seventeen years ago, he was in a similar situation when Senegal lost to Cameroon in the final of the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). Senegal came together, held a prayer, and watched as Algeria basked in the glory of being African champions for the second time.
The Desert Foxes welcomed referee Alioum Alioum’s final whistle with a sprint towards the thousands of Algerian fans who occupied the stand behind Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis.
Some players, like Rais M’Bolhi, ran the length of a pitch to celebrate with the fans who had travelled over 3000km from Algiers to Cairo. The Algerian government had flown thousands of fans to Egypt’s capital to witness history.
“I am happy for all these people, for our whole country and our people who were waiting for that second star for a long time,” Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi said. “It’s the first Afcon we’ve won outside our country. It’s just unbelievable, especially when we look at where we have come from.
“Ten months ago, I found a team with a lot of trouble. Without being dramatic, it was really difficult. To do everything we could have done and reach the top of Africa in 10 months, it’s just unbelievable.”
Ten months ago, Algeria were in a mess. They were changing coaches faster than they changed socks. The team was in a state and needed drastic intervention after crashing out in the group stage of the 2017 Afcon and failing to make it to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.
Belmadi, a former captain, was brought in to change the desperate situation but winning the Afcon title wasn’t even in the minds of Algerians when he started, or even when the team arrived in Egypt. But Belmadi believed that they could be African champions. He didn’t shy away from stating that his team was here to win the Afcon, something they had only done before in 1990 – on home soil.
Those who thought he had lost his mind are eating humble pie right now as he feasts on African dominance.
Algeria’s win came from the passion the players had for playing for the national team. They gave it their all, and they were the best team in Egypt from the start.
The other motivation was to give hope to a country currently in a political impasse. On February 22, Algerians started protesting against former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who wanted to run for a fifth term despite being gravely ill.
Algerians have marched every Friday since then with the intention of changing their country.
They got their way as Bouteflika didn’t run for a fifth term and stepped down. But they didn’t stop there – they want more reforms and a change of the current crop of leaders who were there when Bouteflika was in power.
The Algerians’ tenacity was exhibited by their players, who didn’t compromise nor shirk from a challenge even at the sight of any small victory. They were relentless. This tenacity is what gave Algeria their second Afcon title.
JOHANNESBURG – An automotive scrapyard in Roodepoort, Johannesburg was destroyed by fire on Saturday night, paramedics said.
Netcare 911 paramedics responded shortly before 6.30pm to reports of a fire at a business on the corner of Randfontein and Roode roads in Creswell Park, Roodepoort, Netcare 911 spokesman Shawn Herbst said.
"When paramedics arrived on [the] scene the fire had already covered most of the property.
"Reports from the scene indicate that a scrapyard with automotive spares and tyres had caught alight. Fortunately no injuries were reported."
The circumstances leading up to the fire would be investigated by the relevant authorities, Herbst said.
Is it safe to drink alcohol and breastfeed? As physicians, we have always cautioned patients not to. As mothers, we look forward to the occasional glass of wine.
We also know that drinking while breastfeeding remains a controversial and very personal choice, one for which many mothers find themselves judged by friends and family.
Does beer increase milk supply?
Historically, beer was made very differently than it is today. Beer companies marketed low alcohol beers to women to stimulate appetite, increase their strength and enhance milk production. Barley used in beer production contains a polysaccharide that can enhance breast milk production by increasing prolactin secretion in nursing mothers.
On the other hand, alcohol may also inhibit breast milk letdown and slow the flow of milk to the baby due to a blunted prolactin response required for breast milk production. An older study published in Developmental Psychobiology also found that infants consumed less milk during the four-hour testing sessions in which nursing mothers drank alcoholic beer compared to mothers who drank nonalcoholic beer.
Alcohol consumption may cause a woman’s breasts to feel fuller, giving the illusion of enhanced milk production when in fact there is less milk transferring to the baby.
How much alcohol will reach your baby?
The amount of alcohol present in your breast milk is closely related to the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream. The highest amount of alcohol level in your breast milk occurs 30 to 60 minutes after an alcoholic drink.
Many studies have been performed that measure the amount of alcohol that gets into breast milk and thus into baby. One study found that consuming 250 ml of wine had a very small impact on the baby’s blood alcohol level.
For example: If your baby drinks 100 ml of breast milk while you have a blood alcohol level of 0.05 per cent, your baby will consume 50 mg of alcohol. For a 5 kg baby, this is 0.001 percent of their body weight in alcohol.
Put another way: a standard drink (defined as one 355 ml can of beer, one 150 ml glass of wine or 45 ml of hard liquor) contains approximately 14,000 mg of alcohol. If your baby drinks 100 ml of breast milk while you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 per cent, this is nearly equivalent to your baby drinking 1.5 ml of beer, or 0.5 ml of wine or 0.2 ml of hard liquor.
Wait at least two hours before nursing
Ultimately, just as in pregnancy, there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption while breastfeeding. We cannot know for certain the safety of even small amounts of alcohol for young babies.
Research does suggest that alcohol exposure above moderate levels through feeding an infant immediately after drinking alcohol may be harmful. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that exposure to alcohol above one drink per day through breast milk may be detrimental to infant motor development.
However, studies do show that occasional alcohol consumption (defined as less than one drink per day) is unlikely to be harmful.
‘Pumping and dumping’ doesn’t work
Pumping your breast milk then throwing it away (“pumping and dumping”) after you consume alcohol does not decrease the amount of alcohol in your breast milk.
Pumping and dumping may be beneficial for the mother only to relieve the discomfort of full breasts and to help maintain breast milk supply.
The bottom line of personal choice
If you have alcohol in your bloodstream, you will likely have alcohol in your breast milk. Most studies indicate that breastfeeding when your blood alcohol concentration is below the legal driving limit likely does not cause harm to the baby
It remains a personal choice whether or not you decide to have alcohol in moderation while breastfeeding.
Africa Cup of Nations champions Algeria arrived home Saturday to a hero’s welcome from a huge crowd of joyful supporters and a “water salute” for their plane at Algiers airport. “One, two, three, viva Algeria!” tens of thousands of flag-waving fans lining the road from the airport chanted as the players went on a victory […]
East London – A 56-year-old man has been arrested in East London for being in possession of drugs, illegal alcohol, and alleged stolen property, the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Eastern Cape said on Saturday.
East London crime intelligence, tactical response team (TRT), and Baffalo Flats Vispol (visible policing) officers conducted an intelligence-driven operation on Saturday, Captain Hazel Mqala said.
"They went to a house in Perferville that is known to sell drugs, also buying stolen property and having an illegal liquor outlet," she said.
On arrival at the address, the suspect jumped out of the first floor window, evading arrest but leaving one of his "runners" behind who also lived at the same address.
"A search warrant was presented and the search lead to the recovery of 167 tik [crystal methamphetamine] straws, 231 full Boss Mandrax tablets, two half Boss Mandrax tablets, three small bags of tik and several empty bags for the tik, 40 dagga bompies and one arm of dagga, three small scales, two laptops, two cellphone tablets, two Samsung cellphones, [a] box of gold and silver jewellery, 15 identity documents and cards, 24 bank cards, 17 cases of beer, a generator, compressor, and other power tools."
They also recovered an undisclosed amount of money and 124 "tik pipes". The man was arrested for possession of stolen property and contravention of the liquor act, dealing in drugs, and possession of Mandrax and dagga.
The estimated total value of the items recovered was about R100 000, together with the money recovered. The arrested suspect would appear in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Monday, Mqala said.
China lifted some restrictions on foreign investment in the financial sector Saturday, as the world’s second largest economy fights slowing growth at home and a damaging trade war with the United States.
The Wallabies, though, hit back quickly, and thought they had grabbed their first try when loose forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto galloped over, but referee Paul Williams called them back for a forward pass by Samu Kerevi.
Esterhuizen was somewhat unlucky to be yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on Wallaby fullback Tom Banks, who had been close to the ground when the Bok No 12 tackled him around the neck area.
But the Boks weren’t affected by playing with one man less. In fact, they scored again in the 24th minute when Pieter-Steph du Toit surged through a gap and then chipped ahead.
Herschel Jantjies chased the ball down, and even as he was stopped just short, Lood de Jager forced his way over.
At 14-3 up, the Boks were flying, with the key to that being the snappy service and tempo provided by the scrumhalf Jantjies, and greater belief among the South African backs the longer the game went on.
But Australian rugby players are renowned for their creativity on attack, and they looked dangerous whenever they gained possession upfront.
They struck back near the half-hour mark when wing Dane Haylett-Petty finished off smartly in the right corner to reduce the deficit to 14-10.
And just four minutes later, they may have felt that they would take the lead when Haylett-Petty went down to pick up the ball just short of the line, but he spilled it forward to let the Boks off the hook.
Rassie Erasmus’ team couldn’t continue the momentum from the first half after the break, but they got an edge when Aussie tighthead Taniela Tupou was yellow-carded for a shoulder charge into a ruck.
And the Boks pounced almost immediately, with some wonderful handling – especially from captain Eben Etzebeth – resulting in Sbu Nkosi finishing before the hour mark.
Herschel Jantjies crowned a memorable debut with a typical scrumhalf try when he broke down the short side to stretch the lead to 28-10 and virtually wrap up the win with 20 minutes to go.
What a win – well done boys, a full-house of five log points, and five tries to boot! 💥💥💥💥💥
The Wallabies brought on Kurtley Beale to add some firepower to their attack, and the Waratahs star pulled off a superb offload for Bernard Foley to run it in under the posts.
The Boks were chasing a bonus point in the last few minutes, and Reinach got the breakthrough to complete a satisfying outing for the ‘B team’ ahead of next week’s showdown with the All Blacks in Wellington.
Springboks 35 – Tries: Herschel Jantjies (2), Lood de Jager, Sbu Nkosi, Cobus Reinach. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5).
Wallabies 17 – Tries: Dane Haylett-Petty, Bernard Foley. Conversions: Foley (2). Penalty: Foley (1).
It will be a bitter-sweet moment for rugby fans when the Impi warrior runs out onto the field at Ellis Park this afternoon brandishing his spear and leaping into the air, laying down the challenge to the visiting Wallabies; the man who penned the iconic song that inspired the pageantry is no more.
Johnny Clegg is dead. His music, though, will live on, as many noted this week, as the soundtrack to our lives.
Already, as Rhodes University academic Richard Pithouse observed, the mythologisation of perhaps our most globally recognisable cultural icon is almost complete – just as it was for his best-known fan, Nelson Mandela.
Clegg’s song Impi, off Juluka’s second album African Litany, commemorated the annihilation of a well-armed British battalion at Isandlwana in KwaZulu-Natal, by a Zulu army armed mostly with spears. It was released in 1981, the same year the South African Defence Force launched its most devastating offensive into Angola.
It’s a nuance that will be lost on many fans bellowing the Zulu chorus from the stands – even if they don’t know what the words mean.
Much of Clegg and his friend and collaborator Sipho Mchunu’s work was like that – providing an excoriating view of the reality of apartheid that most whites chose to ignore; the plight of migrant workers forced to work underground in African Sky Blue or being accused of stealing the liquor in the cabinet in High Country, not even hinting of the civil war that lay ahead but warning of it directly in Heart of the Dancer: Soon the puppet will be the puppet master or of white South Africans being left behind by history in African Litany.
But if there was ever a song to define Clegg – and every fan has a different one – it was in all probability Asimbonanga, the haunting paean to the political prisoners; chief among them Mandela incarcerated in his third decade, actively airbrushed by the regime, and the rising number of activists dying mysteriously in detention; from Steve Biko to Victoria Mxenge and Neil Aggett.
The song was written quickly during the darkest days of the State of Emergency, while Clegg was recording with his new band Savuka in a studio in the south of Johannesburg. “Most white people were afraid of Mandela at the very best and at the very worst they hate him and they are in power,” he said during his Final Journey tour, but Clegg felt forced to reach out.
The lines: Oh the sea is cold and the sky is grey, Look across the island into the bay, We are all islands till comes the day We cross the burning water, were as much a reference to Robben Island as they were a homage to 17th century poet John Donne’s No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee, he remembered. The song was banned by the SABC, the umpteenth one of Clegg’s to suffer this fate, but it became a global and enduring hit.
Clegg was always going to speak out about injustice, he could do nothing else; his upbringing demanded it. Born in the UK in 1953 and then brought to Johannesburg as a seven-year-old by his single mother, a jazz and cabaret singer, Clegg was exposed to townships by his stepfather, a reporter on the Rand Daily Mail. It was a very different upbringing for a white boy that went into overdrive when he met Charlie Mzila, a cleaner at the flats. Two years later, he’d meet Mchunu who’d journeyed from his hostel in town to meet Clegg and challenge him to a guitar duel.
They became fast friends. Mchunu would introduce him to Zulu dancing at the Wemmer Hostel in the Joburg CBD and Clegg would be arrested for breaking the Group Areas Act, but it would not deter him.
“I never thought when I was growing up in the streets of Joburg, ducking and diving from the police with Sipho or with Charlie that a band would emerge out of this and I would have a musical career,” he remembered.
“I saw myself as an anthropologist who’d be working and getting a salary, teaching and discovering other cultures in a very secluded intellectual environment. A lot of what happened to me was the consequence of choices. I made the right choices but not for the reasons people suspect. I never did Zulu street guitar to make a political statement. I wasn’t politically conscious at the age of 14, I fell in love and it became a massive musical detective story on a hunt to discover the roots of it. When I discovered Zulu dancing, that changed my life. At the age of 15 the whole new world of a warrior culture unfolded. The songs, the words, the movements, were a gift.
“My ambitions were to become an African, but not in the sense of an Afrikaner who is also an African. I – a white person born outside Manchester in the UK – wanted to find my own road and in that darkest of times I discovered an African migrant community that was so happy to have a white kid dancing in the hostels that they accelerated my urban adventure into a tribal world.”
He and Mchunu formed Juluka (Sweat) in 1977, they disbanded in 1985 when Mchunu opted to return to KZN and go cattle farming. By then, six gold and platinum selling albums later, they were an international success. Clegg formed Savuka (We have risen) which would lead to some of his most memorable music, among them Cruel Crazy Beautiful World written to commemorate the birth of his elder son and The Crossing/Osiyeza, written in memory of his friend and Savuka partner Dudu Ndlovhu, who was murdered while trying to mediate in a KZN taxi war. Ndlovhu’s murder would precipitate the break up of Savuka, leading Clegg on a solo career that became notable for its evolution into musical anthropology, which would provide a perfect platform for his Final Journey tour, which he announced in 2017.
He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 2015 and immediately underwent surgery. Clegg was put on a course of chemotherapy but continued with his busy schedule, missing only two gigs. In March 2016 though, following a rise in his tumour count, his doctors prescribed an aggressive six-month round of chemo. Still, Clegg continued as normal. It all changed on January 1, 2017 when he was bedridden for a month.
“This chemo guarantees a year of suppressing the cancer,” he said at the time, “we’ve got a window. They said to me, ‘you don’t want to be in a space in two or three years where you don’t have the energy to say goodbye in a two-and-half hour show’.”
And thus, the Final Journey Tour was born. The chemo meant Clegg had lost feeling in his fingers and his feet, but by the time the show opened in July, it was difficult to see. His concerts were a tour de force. Every time he was on stage was an emotional farewell. In each he never stopped evangelising for South Africans to overcome their differences and acknowledge their humanity, while alluding to the deep disappointment he felt about the state South Africa found itself in.
The response from his fans was overwhelming, more tour dates were added – three times – with the last dates pencilled in for Soweto with the last one for Wits University where he had his first concert with Mchunu, but it was not to be. He knew it, but he refused to concede.
“I’ve been living in a parallel universe, the doctors have kind of given me until January in terms of the chemo, after which we are in no-man’s land medically, with radiation next if necessary.”
In January last year, he started chemo again, bringing the Final Journey to an unofficial end, but he played when his health would allow it.
The last of these was in December at the launch of his fund to improve the lives of poor schoolchildren through education. It was there that he was surprised by the video of 56 musicians, organised by musician Karen Zoid, all singing The Crossing, long one of Clegg’s personal favourite songs, which immediately went viral.
Before he had set out on the Final Journey, he had mused: “It’s a song about a life taken prematurely – now when I sing it, it’s ironic.”
This week, the country has tried to make sense of a loss that had been signposted for months but still cut to the core. Veteran journalist and commentator Max du Preez spoke for many when he wrote: “to me #JohnnyClegg wrote the soundtrack for the society we should aspire to.”