Music legend Johnny Clegg has been awarded with an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II, the British High Commission said on Sunday.

“Buckingham Palace has released the 2015 Birthday Honours list and the British High Commission is delighted to announce that South African artist, activist and philanthropist Johnny Clegg has been honoured with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE),” it said in a statement.

British High Commissioner to South Africa Judith Macgregor said: “This is a recognition of Johnny’s unique services to the arts, vulnerable people and children and to democracy in South Africa.

“I am particularly pleased that we are able to celebrate his achievements of the past three decades.”

Clegg said it was a tremendous moment for him to receive the honour and acknowledgement expressed in the award.

“It has been a long journey of more than 30 years, from when I first began to experiment with truly South African cross-over music, and at the same time becoming a cultural activist in the struggle against apartheid,” he said.

“Our music was banned or restricted on national radio, as well as shows being closed down from time to time by apartheid’s security police; we were faced with many obstacles that we had to contend with.”

He said he had worked with the End Conscription Campaign, the trade union movement, the Free the Children in Detention campaign, taken part in efforts to resist the forced removals of rural communities, and raised funds for the United Democratic Front, among other progressive causes. This award had re-energised those dreams and commitments in a special way, he said.