Leon Botha, prolific D.J. who shot to fame in Die Antwoord’s “I’m A Ninja” music video (NSFW), as well as the documentary “Who Am I” passed away on June 5th, the day after his 26th birthday. Leon wasn’t taken down by drugs, or women or hard partying; Leon was born with progeria, a genetic disorder that gives the sufferer the appearance of prematurely aging.
I’ve been reading message boards of well wishers and mourning fans who say that Leon was given a rough lot in life, but I’d disagree. Leon, in his 26 years experienced fame, fortune, and respect for his innovation from fans and contemporaries. He traveled the world, he performed on stage, he got to live a life that most people would only dream of living. At 26 years old he was only one year younger than James Dean, Jimmi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain when they died.
Even as a man living with progeria, he lived 26 years which in and of itself is an accomplishment. The average lifespan of a person living with progeria is usually teens, occasionally the early 20’s. Leon lived a shit-ton of life; maybe because he knew there was a clock on his life most of us don’t have ticking in our ears. Or maybe he was just a die-hard fokken ninja who went after what he wanted and wouldn’t stop until he had it.
Rest in peace Leon, but you’ll never hear me say you got a bum hand. You’ll hear me be jealous of how much life you lived. You’ll hear me hope I live half the life you lived, even though I’m already 37. Then you’ll hear me try to get off my fokken ass to start living. We’ll keep spinning down here. We’ll keep going through the day to day. We’ll remember your work and your art far longer than any of us will be remembered after our lackluster lives.
Photo from Die Antwoord’s Facebook Page. Totally used without permission.