Bots’ DJ SK found dead . . . days before presidential award

Bakang Mhaladi

Gaborone – Botswana’s arts industry is mourning following the death of jazz promoter, Soares Katumbela, who died in an apparent suicide last Thursday.   

Katumbela’s charred body was retrieved from his burnt vehicle in a bush in Tlokweng, on the outskirts of the capital Gaborone.

DJ SK, as he was known in entertainment circles, was due to receive a presidential award on September 30, Botswana’s Independence Day.

President Ian Khama was to bestow Katumbela, in his late 50s, with the Presidential Certificate for his contribution to Botswana’s music industry.

At the time of his death, Katumbela was organising the Francistown Jazz Festival, which was to feature international acts, with South African afro pop singer, Ringo Madlingozi headlining the show.

The festival, which was scheduled for last week Saturday, was promptly postponed.

“It is with deep regret that following the death of Streethorn director and Francistown Jazz Festival producer, Soares Katumbela, the show will not go ahead. We apologies for the inconvenience caused,” Katumbela’s company, Streethorn Promotions announced on Saturday morning.

Workers then proceeded to dismantle the giant stage, which had been set-up for the show at the old Francistown Stadium.

Katumbela was raised in Francistown and was particularly passionate about jazz and timeless classics. He ran a nightclub and hosted several international jazz artistes.

He hosted a radio jazz programme and was a member of The Shades, a jazz group based in Francistown in the early 1970s.

“This is shocking news. Katumbela was a great man, we played music together for a long time,” former The Shades member, Cynthia Bright told the media.

“I am devastated at the death of this guru. Soares slept, ate and spoke jazz.

“This is a great loss,” said jazz promoter, Shima Monageng.

Francistown, the country’s second city, also extended its condolences, through the city council clerk, Mompati Seleka.

“It’s a loss for the city. He was an enterprising person who carried initiatives that were in line with our vision to make Francistown a vibrant city.

“The (jazz) festival he was organising, promised not only to create vibrancy in the city, but to uplift disadvantaged members of the community, through donating proceeds from the music show to charity,” Seleka said.

Katumbela relocated to Gaborone in the 1990s, where he continued to establish popular jazz joints.

He will be buried in Gaborone tomorrow.

September 2017
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