Jack Hammer (18 July 1955 – 2 June 2019)
Piet Botha died on Sunday. He was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas a mere couple of weeks earlier.
The rocker died in the same hour that we raised a glass to the second anniversary of “our arrival in Australia”. For us, a day of looking forward to many more exciting times and travels, for the legendary muso, the very end of his 63-year earthly journey.
Piet leaves a massive void in the South African music landscape. The outpouring on social media in the hours following his death reaffirmed him as the kindest, most zen human around. His carefree energy and disrespect for the “industry bullshit”, transformed him into an elder that brought so many people together.
I heard the man with the signature pulled-back mane play live at two occasions. Both times he totally disregarded the concert’s advertised starting time. But in each incident the audience was quite happy to wait, for him to refill his pipe from his “twaksakkie” as many times as it would take to work his magic.
His incredible presence off and especially on stage, his big heart, gentle nature and awesome sense of humour all formed part of a life lived to the fullest.
The sun turned its back on the frontman of Jack Hammer as he left us on the second day of winter. Somehow I can’t imagine him leaving in summer or spring.
And as the jackhammer fell quiet I could swear I heard a didgeridoo channeling the wise shaman’s healing power.