“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Carel who, like millions across the world, was and remains deeply inspired by Johnny Clegg.

It’s sometimes hard to remember that just a few decades ago, we had crazy, offensive, hurtful, destructive, racist laws in South Africa. Some of these laws made Johnny Clegg’s multiracial band Savuka illegal. And these laws banned many of his songs – such as Asimbonanga (Mandela). With the death of Johnny Clegg this week, I was reminded of the importance of music in changing a society – in making it better. Johnny Clegg and his many collaborators over the years certainly made the word a better place.

I have a British friend, Nigel, who often sings Asimbonanga (not very well) when he has had a few drinks (we like to have many together!) And so this struggle song took on a happy meaning for me – of my great country and of how we changed course from Apartheid. We sometimes still lose our way by not being inclusive enough, but I hope that in listening to Johnny Clegg’s songs you will, like me, again be inspired to do our very best in contributing to #SARising.

I wish someone had told me long ago that song has such power. And we must use it, well.

Enjoy this tribute version of Asimbonanga by the Ndlovu Choir – who, also through song, are uniting our nation.

Go well Johnny. Hamba Kahle my friend.