“HENLEY Business School Africa is in mourning along with the rest of South Africa – and indeed the world at the news of the death of Johnny Clegg,” says dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley.
Johnny Clegg has a special place at Henley Business School Africa, he gave his name to the first ever scholarship for an MBA in Music and Creative Arts, when the ground breaking programme was launched in 2014.
“Johnny was the obvious person for us to honour in this way when we launched the programme,” remembers Foster-Pedley, “as an artist, his story spoke directly to the principles of this MBA; he harnessed his innate creativity as an artist and applied sound business principles to ensure that his art reached audiences the world over.”
Clegg expressed his excitement at the time at being honoured in this way – and of the importance of the initiative: “As an artist, I had to learn about the business side of music through trial-and-error. In many real respects, I was self-taught.”
“With over 30 years in the industry, what I’ve learnt is that information is power – and to date, very little has been offered by academia to address how our work in the arts is structured and plays out.”
To date, scholarship winners have included comedian John Vlismas, singer Loyiso Bala, musician Kahn Morbee and TV producer Melody Xaba to name a few, but the link with Clegg extends further than the scholarship, with his long time drummer Barry van Zyl graduating with his own MBA last year and guitarist Andy Innes enrolled for an MBA too.
Henley has the highest number of MBA scholarships of any business school in Africa, 30.
“Johnny epitomised what we were trying to do with our scholarships, allowing us to add massive diversity, infusing our seminars with top class creatives. Where else will you get to share a class with a household name in music, or a world standard TV anchor, a fantastic comedian or an internationally acclaimed investigative journalist?
“As a business school, we can do something, we can be agents of positive changes. We are not here to serve corporations or governments but the people. We need to be teaching that the aim of business is prosperity – a better life, better economy and better hope for our children – and not profit. A key part of that is creating a sustainable arts and creative industry.
“We are immensely grateful for the opportunity we had to work with a South African icon like Johnny Clegg and to have had the privilege to honour him in this way,” says Foster-Pedley.
“Johnny Clegg stood for something and what he stood for has inspired us and lives with us now.
“We all knew of Johnny’s awe inspiring, incredibly courageous five year-long battle against pancreatic cancer, but it’s still a shock for all of us. Our thoughts are with his wife Jenny and boys Jesse and Jaron at this very sad time. We wish them all long life.”