Leon Botha

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Leon Botha
Leon Botha.jpg
Born(1985-06-04)4 June 1985
Cape Town, South Africa
Died5 June 2011(2011-06-05) (aged 26)
Cape Town
OccupationPainter, entertainer
Years active2007–2011

Leon Botha (4 June 1985 – 5 June 2011) was a South African painter and disk jockey who also appeared in many music videos and opened concerts with the South African music group, Die Antwoord, as well as one of the world's oldest survivors of progeria.[1]


Botha was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and lived there until his death. He was diagnosed with progeria around the age of 4 years. He had no formal training in art beyond high school courses at the Tygerberg Art Centre, but became a full-time painter after graduation, doing commissioned works.[citation needed]

In 2005, Botha successfully underwent heart bypass surgery to prevent a heart attack due to progeria-related atherosclerosis.[2]

In January 2007, Botha had his first solo art exhibition, entitled "Liquid Sword; I am HipHop", revolving around hip-hop culture as a way of life.[3] It took place at the Rust-en-Vrede (which translates to Quiet and Peace) gallery in Durbanville and was opened by Mr Fat of the South African hip hop group Brasse Vannie Kaap.[4] His second solo exhibition opened in March 2009 and featured pieces of the artist's life. Botha was asked if the title "Liquid Swords; Slices of Lemon" referred to the adage "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Botha said no, adding, "Lemons? I slice 'em and serve 'em back!"[5]

In January 2010 he hosted the first exhibit of Who Am I? Transgressions, a photo collaboration with Gordon Clark, at the João Ferreira Gallery in Cape Town.[6] Botha said of the exhibition, "I am a spiritual being, the same as you, primarily. Then I'm a human being and this part of the human being is the body, which has a condition."[7]

Botha was also engaged in deejaying and turntablism under the name DJ Solarize.[8] He was featured alongside Watkin Tudor Jones, aka Ninja, in the music video "Enter the Ninja" from Die Antwoord.[9]

In November 2010, Botha suffered a stroke.[10] Botha died from complications of progeria in Cape Town one day after his 26th birthday.[11]

Botha was the inspiration for the one-act opera Solarize, by Marcin Stańczyk, libretto by Andrzej Szpindler, which debuted in Warsaw in April 2014 at Teatr Wielki, the Polish National Opera.[12]


  1. ^ Staff report (14 January 2010). Transcend and Transgress, Mail & Guardian
  2. ^ Sampson, Lin (17 October 2009). "Coming of Age: Cover Story", The Times
  3. ^ van Zyl, Peter (11 January 2007). Art from my hip-hop heart. YOU
  4. ^
  5. ^ Peters, Melanie (11 April 2009). Progeria victim finds life in art. Independent on Saturday, South Africa
  6. ^ Clifford-Holmes, Lauren (15 January 2010). The Fibre of Reality, Mail & Guardian
  7. ^ Clark, Gordon, and Leon Botha (2010). "Who Am I? ...Transgressions" via YouTube
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ http://www.teatrwielki.pl/repertuar/opera/kalendarium/projekt_p-1.html

External links[edit]