News article

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Honours 2015 – South Africa

South African artist, activist and philanthropist Johnny Clegg has been honoured with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Buckingham Palace has released the 2015 Birthday Honours list and the British High Commission is delighted to announce that South African artist, activist and philanthropist Johnny Clegg has been honoured with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

British High Commissioner to South Africa, Mrs Judith Macgregor said: “This is a recognition of Johnny’s unique services to the Arts, vulnerable people and children and to democracy in South Africa. I am particularly pleased that we are able to celebrate his achievements of the past three decades. We continue to work with Johnny and others to ensure that the positive change that they have secured will continue to have long-lasting impact on generations to come.”

On hearing the news, Johnny Clegg said: “It’s a tremendous moment for me to receive this honour and acknowledgement expressed in this award.

It has been a long journey of more than 30 years, from when I first began to experiment with truly South African cross-over music, and at the same time becoming a cultural activist in the struggle against apartheid.

Our music was banned or restricted on national radio, as well as shows being closed down from time to time by apartheid’s security police; we were faced with many obstacles that we had to contend with.

Having worked with The End Conscription Campaign, the Trade Union Movement and the Free the Children in Detention Campaign, resisting forced removals of rural communities, fund raising for the United Democratic Front amoungst other progressive causes, this award re-energises those dreams and commitments in a very special way.”