11 August 2017

Namibia: Farewell to Johan 'Smittie' Smit ... 1955 - 2017

Windhoek — The Namibian music industry woke up to another tragedy with the sad news that veteran drummer, Johan Smit, better known as "Smittie" in musical circles, has bowed out from the game of life, aged 61.

The late Smittie was a mean drummer, who back in the day, rubbed shoulders with some of the finest musos during the height of apartheid South West Africa (SWA).

He was a member of Peter Otto's band, which also included Sepp Katsch on bass and former Rockets multi-talented instrumentalist, Claude Brown, on lead guitar.

Apart from his lodging with Peter Ottos' popular pop ensemble, Smittie was a valuable member of Windhoek's Wika Phonika Brass Band with legendary German import saxophonist, Joseph Humpsch.

He would occasionally play for various local bands as a session musician, a much-sought-after drummer who went onto enjoy a successful stint with Namibia's leading band, Weekend, alongside the fusion band's front man, Bones Solomon Goodheart.

In the intervening years, Smittie teamed up with Koos van Zyl to form the Vintage band whilst he also shifted behind the skins for the Gasoline Rock ensemble.

Offstage, Smittie would pass his expertise and vast musical knowledge on to would-be drummers giving lessons after working hours.

A mean angler, his son Rayno described his old man as a caring father with an incredible passion for outdoor life (camping), while music was the staple food of his body and soul.

Smittie will be sorely missed by his colleagues at the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), and the entire music industry in which leaves a massive void.

He worked for the national broadcaster for many years as Senior Adverts Production Manager.

Sadly, the much-adored muso exited the game of life in a horrific motor vehicle accident while travelling from

Okahandja on Monday, August 3.

The deceased leaves behind two children, daughter Lauren (28), son Rayno Smit (23) and ex-wife Letittea. Family and friends will lay him to rest today at the Pioneers Park cemetery.


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