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Sunday, December 14, 2014


(Christian Ashley-Botha)

Former Head of Music at the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School for 25 years, Christian Ashley-Botha, died of kidney failure at his home near the school on December 6. He had just turned 70 on November 30.

Born in Mossel Bay and educated at Bishops in Cape Town, Ashley-Botha was known by his childhood nickname “Bunny”. Passionate about choral music from his school years, he went on to study at the University of the Free State and the Royal School of Church Music in London. He was also an Associate of the Royal College of Music.

Acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to choral music, Ashley-Botha was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga by former president Thabo Mbeki in 2006. He trained many young choristers who went on to have international music careers, took the choir to the Vatican to sing for Pope John Paul II and raised the choir to an international level as they toured the world.

He leaves his wife, Bettie, and children Nan, Mau and Mandy.