A farewell to Leon Botha from Die Antwoord's Ninja and Yo-Landi


Ninja and Yo-Landi of Die Antwoord share the following memorial to their friend Leon Botha, who died Sunday at age 26 of complications from progeria. (Translations: JOL - Party; CHOMMIE - Best friend).

Ninja and Yo-Landi write:

In 2008, before DIE ANTWOORD was known outside of Cape Town, we threw our 1st ZEF RAP-RAVE JOLS at a dodgy little club called the Purple Turtle in Long Street (CT). The line up was our chommie, DJ SOLARIZE (Leon Botha), our chommie JACK PAROW, DIE ANTWOORD and our other chommies, THE WEDDING DJ'S.

Only about 150 to 200 people pulled in to these fun little psycho jols, but everyone who came to each jol said afterwards this ZEF RAP-RAVE JOL was the 'the best night of their lives'.

This was Leon's 1st time ever to DJ in front of people.

Leon had the biggest collection of actual rap CD's Ninja and Yo-landi had ever seen in their lives.

They were all kept in original mint condition on giant CD racks that wrapped round his whole room!

His bedroom looked like a mixture between a hip-hop CD shop / dj studio and a Shoalin Monk art gallery, Leon had a deep love for creating his beautifully dark and mysterious paintings, and also a deep love for hip-hop DJ scratch-mixing.

When we asked Leon to drop a DJ set before DIE ANTWOORD'S 1st show he was crazy into it, and put a real slamming hard-core rap set together that got our 1st little Zuid Afrikaanse zeflings banging their brains out!


These special little zef jols we threw with Leon back in 2008 sparked a tough little fire that later spread all over the world!

After these 1st zef rap-rave jols Leon became an official member of DIE ANTWOORD family. When we took DIE ANTWOORD'S 1st official band phots and we asked Leon to be in the photos also.

These 2 photos are entitled IMMORTAL and SKERRY, GERRY, BABBY ZINA.

This shoot was directed by Ninja, and features graffiti based on the work of Roger Ballen. Camera operator: Sean Meteleklamp.

DIE ANTWOORD'S shared Leon Botha's love for rap, martial arts and transcendental stuff. Our mutual love for these things lead to the creation of the ENTER THE NINJA music video which Ninja directed.

When we told Leon the idea for the video he loved it and said he would dig to be in the video with us.

We made the video ourselves with no outside help, just a lot of blood, sweat, tears and favours!

Soon after this the ENTER THE NINJA video blew up real big in the overseas with over 30 million hits (combined views) on the interweb.

Just after everything went so crazy in 2010, DIE ANTWOORD threw another rap-rave jol with DJ SOLARIZE in Cape Town.

But this time we all performed in-front of 4000 people at our 1st MEGAZEF RAVE-RAVE JOL inside an old abandoned ice rink in Wynberg (CT.)

This was the most people we had ever played in front of in our whole lives!

Everyone went totally crazy when DJ SOLARIZE hit the stage to drop his DJ set because he was now super famous from his cameo in the ENTER THE NINJA music video!

Die Antwoord went on to tour the whole world directly after this.

We performed in just about every US state NYC from LA, then onto Canada, London, Scotland, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Amsterdam, Belgium, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

We phoned Leon from time to time during this crazy world tour, just to say what's up, or to tell him that we had just met some of our favourite hip-hop hero's in person!

We met GHOST FACE KILLER from the Wu-Tang Clan in a hotel we were both staying at in Los Angeles.

Then we bumped into B-REAL and the CYPRESS HILL crew in POLAND and again in Amsterdam. Then we met all the rappers from A TRIBE CALLED QUEST at a concert in Japan who said they were big fans of Die Antwoord (which was so crazy!)

Leon would laugh and get just as freaked out as us every time we told him about these crazy adventures we were having!

It was so weird to actually meet these people in person because we had all been crazy fans of them for so long!

Life is is such a dark, dreamy thing.

Leon's painting's reflect this beautifully.

Sometimes life doesn't really make sense but we all try our best work it out.

Leon was pretty much the deepest person we have ever met.

We know this is a very strange thing to say, but speaking face to face with Leon sometimes felt like you were having a one on one conversation with God.

Leon told us that most people are always working towards something, or thinking about the future the whole time.

Then Leon said if you don't learn how to fully embrace everything that is happening right now at this very moment, then you will never really get to experience life to the fullest. Leon taught us how to really and truly 'live in the moment' and to savour this precious time on Earth we have all been blessed with.

A butterfly only lives for a few days.

Rest In Peace Little Buddha.

We love you with all our hearts now and for ever and ever.





  1. Sad Leon had to leave us.
    I do wonder about the choice of photos… Leon with a Katana & a masturbating Casper the friendly ghost?!?

    1. After these 1st zef rap-rave jols Leon became an official member of DIE ANTWOORD family. When we took DIE ANTWOORD’S 1st official band phots and we asked Leon to be in the photos also.

      1. I was not saying anything about Leon being in the photo’s.
        Just thought it a tad strange that photo was picked to go with the headline.

        Sadly… During the mid 70’s My next door neighbors had a child with progeria.
        One of the most heart wrenching things I’ve ever watched.

        /Died two days before his tenth birthday.
        //Still think of ya Greg.

    2. I do wonder about the choice of photos… ” The symbol for Katana

      …one cannot strike the phallus, because the phallus, event the real phallus, is a ghost ” Hamlet: Giving Up the Ghost

      not attempting to interpret just showing answers found to questions asked.

  2. Thanks, Xeni for keeping up with Die Antwoord and passing on the news of Botha’s death. Seemed a luminous artist with more talent and thoughts than time. Turns out that was true. Don’t forget to check through Leon’s Flickr stream.

  3. I can’t speak for Leon and maybe I’m off the mark, but it seemed to me that he absolutely lived and breathed hip hop, and I believe that he (and anyone else who does the same) wouldn’t love being remembered exactly as he was in these photos. RIP.

    1. Dole is correct. These guys were his best friends. He was 26 years old, not a child, and these photos represented a moment of great happiness and pride for him. It is how his best friends who loved him very much want to remember him, and that is the best we can do.

  4. “We know this is a very strange thing to say, but speaking face to face with Leon sometimes felt like you were having a one on one conversation with God.”

    Watch _The man from earth_ it is about
    someone with the opposite of Leon’s problem but similar effect.


  5. “speaking face to face with Leon sometimes felt like you were having a one on one conversation with God.”
    “There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as dazzling as light.”

  6. I was lucky enough to have spoken to Leon several times via e-mail. While I did not know him personally, I must admit that a death has never upset me so much. A profound soul and a warm heart. I won’t forget you, my friend.


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