FES, Morocco

African superstars Johnny Clegg and Youssou N’Dour paid homage Sunday to late South African icon Nelson Mandela at the 20th edition of the World Festival of Sacred Music in Morocco.

The show in Fez, the spiritual capital of the north African nation, began with a reading of English poet William Ernest Henley’s ‘Invictus’, often recited by Mandela while imprisoned by the apartheid government.

Thousands of people then broke into dance as South Africa’s Johnny Clegg, a musician internationally renowned as the ‘White Zulu’ for mixing English and Zulu lyrics and rhythms, took to the stage.

‘Thank you for this homage to a great man who played an important role in my life and in the world,’ Clegg, 61, said in French, after belting out his hit 80s ode to Mandela ‘Asimbonanga’ (We have not seen him).

He melded his voice with that of another African great, Senegal’s Youssou N’dour, in a medley including N’dour’s song ‘Nelson Mandela’, which he wrote in 1985 after spending hours in Dakar ‘watching the news on apartheid with my mom’.