Asimbonanga appeared on Johnny Clegg’s Savuka album “Third World Child” released in 1987. For me Asimbonanga was the best track – a hauntingly beautiful ballet about a man I did not know i.e. Nelson Mandela.
As a white South African born into the Apartheid era I would like to pay tribute to Johnny Clegg. His 1983 Juluka album “Work for All” was played on our Blaupunkt Hi-Fi system late into the night with friends Gary and Dean Graham. Living in Springs on the Far East Rand of Johannesburg we knew nothing about Nelson Mandela. Integration between white and black was not part of our daily existence – we went to different schools, live in different suburbs and shopped at different shopping centers. The album cover of Johnny Clegg with his arms around the neck of a black man Sipho Mchuna was radical at the time.
“Johnny, I salute your courage and your honesty. You were a pioneer in the rather un-sexy sphere of racial integration. You were the first person to make a serious dent in my “Europeans-Only” world. You showed me sanity in an insane world. For me you achieved in a single album cover what all the bomb blasts and unrest at the time could not do. The album “Work for all” showed me that cross-cultural excellence is completely normal. Thank you for what you did for our country” – Steve Eilertsen
Madiba Tribute 2014
Asimbonanga has been updated for the 2014 Madiba Tribute in this hauntingly beautiful video below. Yes, there is more work to be done – may we all be equal to the task. Check it out.