Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play in South Africa for the first time since Steven Van Zandt, right, founded a group to protest apartheid in the country in 1985.

Story highlights

The Boss will perform with his E Street Band

In 1985, band member Steven Van Zandt began a campaign against South Africa's apartheid

Van Zandt enlisted big names to be part of the campaign, including Bono and Bob Dylan

CNN  — 

Nearly three decades after a member of his band launched a protest against apartheid, Bruce Springsteen is performing in South Africa next year for the first time.

Springsteen will take the stage in Cape Town on January 28 and 29. He’ll then head to Johannesburg, where he’ll play a gig on February 1.

The Boss will perform with his E Street Band, whose member Steven Van Zandt founded the Artists United Against Apartheid protest group in 1985.

Band member Van Zandt enlisted big names to join him in the hit song “Sun City,” which slammed the apartheid government in South Africa. Dozens of performers took part, including Springsteen, Bono, Bob Dylan and the late Lou Reed.

The legalized racial segregation enforced by the South African government ended in 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected the nation’s first black president.

Springsteen has sold more than 65 million albums in the United States and 120 million worldwide.