One of the reasons I like to work on biographies on Wikipedia is because people, especially living people, deserve a fair, clean article summarizing their work. Sometimes when I write a biography of someone living, they write back to thank me, and of those who have, my favorite was probably South African artist Leon Botha, who died yesterday at age 26. He’s probably best known for his appearance in the Enter the Ninja video for Die Antwoord, the music group for whom he used to open. After some editors tried to delete his article, some others had written it so it was heavily weighted toward discussing his body, something I have to deal with in my own media interactions. After I rewrote it to highlight his art, Leon wrote in part:
I sincerely thank you for your help! And would like to express my gratitude. It’s always troubling with someone like me when it comes to media internet etc. But I was just particularly paranoid about the first time wiki mentioned me, that all of my work (and me as a artist, which I basically dedicated my life to) would all fade into the background of progeria, and that would mean “defeat” for me in just some of my personal goals/missions. Anyway, it’s a sigh of relief to which I owe you the credit and gratitude.
RIP Leon Botha, a remarkable turntablist, intriguing outsider artist, and wise person.