It is with a sense of shock and sadness that we received the devastating news of the passing away of musician and entertainer, Koyo Bala. Bala passed away at the Groote Schuur Hospital just days ago, after a prolonged battle with cancer.
Bala was born in Gugulethu Township outside Cape Town. He moved to Johannesburg where he was determined to make a name for himself in the highly competitive entertainment industry. In 2002 he together with two of his close friends, Jeff Moyo and Amstel Makwane, formed the pop music group called 3Sum. This group soon carved its own unique image and they developed into becoming one of the most formidable forces in the music industry.
It was clear from the beginning that 3Sum was not going to be just another music group, but a social movement. In a society where there are prevalent anti-gay sentiments forcing some people to live lives of secrecy for fear of ridicule, abuse and even rejection on account of their sexual orientation, 3sum were openly gay and championed the rights of gay people.
He was also diagnosed with cancer but he never allowed this to hold him back and his positive outlook to life always prevailed. You did not have to be a close friend of his to understand that Bala was full of life. Bala’s decision to publicly disclose his HIV positive status in 2012 was a significant act of courage and selflessness.
He displayed his zest for life for all to see at the Metro FM awards held in Durban recently. His decision to travel to Durban and participate in one of the major events in the South African entertainment calendar may have been his way of bidding farewell to his friends and colleagues in the best way he knew how.
Bala was a treasure to South Africa. His passing leaves a gaping hole in our entertainment industry. There are no words to express how we grieve for losing this young and energetic soul. We convey our heartfelt condolences to his family, relatives, friends and all his fans.
May his gentle and creative soul rest in peace!
For further information contact Ms Lisa Combrinck: 082 821 4886.
Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture