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"What Johnny Clegg represented inspired us and lives with us now."

Music career of Johnny & # 39; Clegg lasted almost four decades. File photo: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg – Melody Xaba always wanted to meet Johnny Clegg, especially when she won a scholarship two years ago on behalf of him for the MBA.

Now, however, it is too late. Clegg surrendered to a five-year battle with pancreatic cancer on Tuesday afternoon July 16, 2019.

"I was incredibly grateful, but also extremely honored that I won the scholarship. I love Johnne & # 39; ego Clegg and what he represents. I could have had the opportunity to finish school at Barnato Park High School in the city, but I grew up in Orlando West and to be brutally honest, my memories of childhood white people are soldiers with weapons in armored vehicles patrolling the streets.

"My late father loved Johnny & Clegg and introduced me to his music, so Johnny became the least terrifying white man I knew. People like him, PJ Powers and Claire Johnson of Mango Groove gave me hope for this country.

"I would like to have the opportunity to meet him one day – and tell him."

Xaba grew up watching Jam Alley – and when she was older, she produced it; "This show ended the circle for me, that's what inspired me to work on television," she said. Xaba created the television phenomenon "Our Perfect Wedding" in South Africa on Sunday, then worked as an executive producer on the breakfast e-tv program, but it was an accidental meeting with one of her clients while working in the Rapid Blue production house. her life around.

"She did an MBA at Henley and she told me about it. She suggested that I try it. I asked why, and she said it was because Henley had this special program for creation. The MBA has always been on my list, so I came for an open day. "

Since then, Xaba was addicted. There was only one problem, she did not know how to pay for college. It was not a strange feeling, she took three years after completing odd jobs in the city, some would prefer to forget, before she raised money to go to Afda to study film.

But last year she received a scholarship from Johnny Clegg, who paid her full tuition.

Her trip to the MBA changed her life – she inspired her to leave her job as an executive producer and at the end of last year set up her own production company Oasis Pictures, but not sooner than her staff from Breakfast Show successfully nominated her as Boss of the Year magazine Elle.

And it is still able to fit in the prizes won.

Two years ago Melody Xaba won the Johhna Clegg scholarship to get the MBA degree. Photo: Delivered

On Thursday, June 27, she was nominated as one of the 200 young South African correspondents of Mail & Guardian, an annual list of the most impressive and future young South Africans in the country, nominated in the film and media segment.

"I did not realize what a great honor this night was when I got there. I thought "oh my God, these people are so amazing, why are they all here? At the end of the evening I was quite overwhelmed. "

However, if anything, it encouraged her not only to complete her MBA – it is half way through – but to leave a real heritage for her industry.

"My long-term goals are much bigger than just starting my own business, I'm fascinated by the fourth industrial revolution and how do other sectors change their systems to be ready, what are we doing in the film and media sectors? What can I do?

"I want to leave a positive legacy, not only from the perspective of art, but also a commercial element, helping to create sustainable creative industries, I want to pay them off."

Clegg would appreciate it.

When in 2014 the business school announced a scholarship to start its unique MBA program devoted to music and creative industries, he said: "As an artist, I had to learn about the business side of music through trial and error. In many real ways I was self-taught. "

"Thanks to over 30 years of experience in the industry, I learned that information is power – and so far, the academics have very little suggested to describe how our art in art is organized and works".

"Johnny personified what we were trying to achieve thanks to our scholarships," said Dean and business school director Jon Foster-Pedley, "letting us add a huge variety by introducing our seminars to the best creations. Where else can you share a class with a home name in music or a global anchor, a fantastic comedian or an internationally recognized investigative journalist?

"As a business school, we can do something, we can be agents of positive change. We are not here to serve corporations or governments, but people. We must teach that the goal of business is prosperity – a better life, better economy and better hope for our children – and not profit. A key part of this is the creation of a sustainable artistic and creative industry.

"We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with a South African icon, such as Johnny Clegg, and the honor of honoring him in this way," said Foster-Pedley.

"Johnny Clegg was behind something and what he represented inspired us and lived with us."

* Kevin Ritchie is an independent writer.

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