Johannesburg – Speaking to the press at an intimate gathering on Thursday, legendary musician Johnny Clegg opened up about his final world tour as well as his battle with cancer.
"These shows are hard for me," Johnny said when questioned about the state of mind he is in. He explained: "I’m dealing with another parellel world that I work in with my diagnosis. Pancreatic [cancer] is lethal. There’s no way out of it."
The singer said he had two bouts of chemotherapy, each six months long, after being diagnosed in 2015, but in 2016 found out he'd have to undergo another session. "I came back in 2016 from my American tour and my cancer tumour count in my blood was up, and a month later it doubled. Now doubling means that there’s a problem. So I went for an MRI and they found two lymph nodes that have just swelled up. And they said, 'well we’re gonna have to put you on the atom bomb [another form of chemotherapy]. So I had six months, I came off of it in February."
Besides going through chemo, Johnny has also had a whipple operation among other medical procedures. “I don’t have a duodenum, I have half my stomach, I don’t have a bile duct, I don’t have a gallbladder, I have half my pancreas. It’s all been reconfigured.”
“So I came out of that this year and I started to feel the graph is going up. And I said to Roddy my manager, I don’t know what’s gonna happen, I’ve studied this on the internet, I’ve spoken to my doctor, I don’t know how long I’ve got. And we all know that it’s gonna end badly at one point,” he added.
Right now Johnny says he is in a good place. “I feel fit and strong, I’m dancing and I’m singing.”
He continues to push forward for his fans. “I have Clegg-heads, Savuka-heads, Juluka-heads who have grown old with me in the world, who appreciate what I do, who are genuinely sad and want to make that final connection and celebrate that. And I feel quite motivated to do that.”