A British double bass is murdered in South Africa

A British double bass is murdered in South Africa


norman lebrecht

September 02, 2018

Simon Milliken, former principal double bass of the Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, was stabbed to death on Friday while out birdwatching with a guest conductor.

The pair were 500 yards inside Durban’s Burman Bush Nature Reserve when they were attacked by marauders. Simon fled in one director, conductor Peri So in the other. He got away unscathed.

Simon was left bleeding from his wounds. He died before trackers arrived hours later.

Simon, who was 60, retired last year from the orchestra. He leaves a wife, Maria, and – in England – his mother and a brother.

Tributes here.


  • Sue says:

    Good god that country is utterly lawless and violent. Dreadful tragedy. We just hear of so many, not just white farmers.

    • Caravaggio says:

      Fact is this sort of senseless tragedy can and does happen everywhere which means that the lawlessness is not confined to that particular country. And no one, regardless of race or ethnicity or whatever other measure, is immune. Bottom line is life can be very arbitrary and unfair.

      • Minutewaltz says:

        I agree that there is lawlessness everywhere but South Africa is worse than most places.
        Those who can afford it live in secure compounds with barb wire fencing and guards and even they aren’t safe.

      • Algot says:


        • Eleanor says:

          I’m afraid Minutewaltz is correct. I’m in ZA right now. I can attest to it. Things got much, much worse under Zuma. He and the Guptas looted the place for years. Poverty is worse than ever.

      • John says:

        ABSOLUTE TWADDLE CARAVAGGIO! I knew Simon well, and he knew the country well. I lived there for 8 years…and I have travelled all over the World. There is an acute lack of respect for life in South Africa, especially within the black criminal element…yes that’s correct, black! More often Zulu….I was also mugged at knifepoint but survived. You don’t have to be PC! The truth is the truth, whether it be poverty, upbringing, weak parenting, multiple reasons – there is a lack of respect for life indicative of crime in SA. Yes, it can happen anywhere, but not like this. People will kill you without a thought for a bag of sugar over there. Living in fear is a normal way of life….not everyone will admit to it, but you walk around Durban and try and find one home that doesn’t have security like Fort Knox…Have you lived there? Or are you just saying ‘in can happen in any country, because you have an urge to whitewash anything you read with unnecessary political correctness ….it infuriates me. You have to live it to know that bs it is, and I have…trust me, it is NOT like any other country. RIP Simon –

      • Henning Viljoen says:

        Violent crime in South Africa is worse than in most countries of the world. We live with security fences and think twice where to go where it will be safe….it becomes a way of life! Amongst my friends there are hardly a person who has not been a victim of of crime and we mostly then respond: luckily you are still alive…especially after house break at gunpoint! And the big tragedy is it is getting worse!

  • greg says:

    Yeah stabbing 60 year old violin players, and birdwatchers, pretty common pretty much everywhere in the world, not confined to any particular country. Are you completely delusional?

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Maybe BDS should focus their attention and activities on countries with real problems.

    • Sharon says:

      The destructive legacy of colonialism is a gift that just keeps giving although the dysfunction expresses itself differently in different geographic areas. When one takes away self government it is hard to relearn it. (In my opinion the reason that Israel is more functional is because Jews were marginalized for so long that they never stopped being self governing, at least in their internal affairs, wherever they may have been).

      Look at Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, and even the condition of native Americans in the US.

      Nevertheless the reason is not an excuse. May Milikin’s family find peace.

  • Brett Nortje says:

    More than 600 000 people have been murdered in South Africa since the Constitutional Court abolished the death penalty.

    The ANC government very deliberately destroyed the criminal justice system so they could loot unhindered.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Europe is the continent with by far the lowest murder rates in the world. And it is the part of the world most strongly against the death penalty.

  • Sam S.A says:

    Lawless and dangerous . SouthAfrica..from the cape to joburg and in between It’s out of control

  • Nidhi Gangan Every says:

    This news is a true tragedy. Safety in SA has plummeted significantly over the past decade or more. Today, you don’t feel safe anywhere (CPT, Durban, Jozi, etc.), regardless of where you live, whether you are driving in your car on the highway or sight-seeing and hiking up Table Mountain. Safety should be the number one concern for President Ramaphosa- but will it be?
    Simon was a good person and always wanted to share his love for nature (and bell ringing). Thoughts with Perry So.