Johnny Clegg – Spirit of the Great Heart

Johnny Clegg was born in Lancashire in England in 1953. He grew up in the United Kingdom, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Zambia and South Africa. He’s an important figure in South African popular music history. His songs are a mix of Zulu and English lyrics. When he was a young man he became interested in Zulu street music and took part in traditional Zulu dance competitions. He’s commonly known as “The White Zulu” in South Africa (and a few other countries). He formed the first mixed South African inter-racial band Jaluka (frowned upon but not forbidden by law by the Apartheid government) in the late 1970s. Jaluka (meaning “sweat” in Zulu) was disbanded in 1986.

johnny-clegg

Johnny Clegg formed his second mixed inter-racial band Savuka (meaning “we have risen” or “we have awakened”) shortly afterwards. Spirit of the Great is a well-known song in South Africa and remains as one of my favorite songs of all time. The song was the theme song for the 1992 film Jock of the Bushveld (based on the true story by South African author Sir Percy Fitzpatrick). Johnny Clegg was named at #23 in the SABC 3’s Great South Africans in 2004.

This is a video for Spirit of the Great Heart, followed by the lyrics:

The world is full of strange behaviour
Every man has to be his own saviour
I know I can make it on my own if I try
But I’m searching for a Great Heart to stand me by
Underneath the African sky
A Great Heart to stand me by

I’m searching for the spirit of the Great Heart
To hold and stand me by
I’m searching for the spirit of the Great Heart
Under African sky
I’m searching for the spirit of the Great Heart
I see the fire in your eyes
I’m searching for the spirit of the Great Heart
That beats my name inside
Sometimes I feel that you really know me
Sometimes there’s much you can show me

There’s a highway of stars across the heavens
The whispering song of the wind in the grass
There’s the rolling thunder across the savanna
A hope and dream at the edge of the sky
And your life is a story like the wind
Your life is a story like the wind

I’m searching for the spirit of the Great Heart
To hold and stand me by
I’m searching for the spirit of the Great Heart
Under African sky
I’m searching for the spirit of the Great Heart
I see the fire in your eyes
I’m searching for the spirit of the Great Heart
That beats my name inside
Sometimes I feel that you really know me
Sometimes there’s much you can show me

Guka ‘mzimba (body grow old)
Sala ‘nhliziyo (but heart remain behind)

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone
Henno Kruger

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