The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra paid tribute to prominent musician and orchestra member Simon Milliken, who died after being stabbed in Burman Bush last week. His double bass was placed on the stage with flowers during the orchestra’s performance on Thursday evening.
DURBAN - Simon Milliken’s double bass was placed, unattended, on the stage of the Durban City Hall during the third concert of the Spring Season of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra this week.

Yellow roses decorated the huge musical instrument in memory of the much-loved musician and environmentalist, who died after being robbed and stabbed while walking at Burman Bush on Friday last week.

A picture of him was also on display.

Thursday evening’s event was the orchestra’s first performance since it lost Milliken.

Paying tribute to Milliken, orchestra chief executive Bongani Tembe referred to him as the most unmaterialistic person he knew.

“He valued things like fairness. When he felt someone was being treated unfairly, he would rush to my office.

“He always supported the underdog.”

Tembe asked the audience to spend a moment “thinking about things that matter in life: family, environment, friendships and all these wonderful things”.

He said the evening’s tribute was not only about sadness but also to celebrate Milliken’s life.

The evening started off with a performance of Nimrod in tribute to Milliken.

Instead of the usual clapping, a silence filled the hall.

Meanwhile at Burman Bush, nearby resident Helen Clements who is used to reporting and following up problems at the green lung and calls herself “the sheriff”, said that once a R5 million fence was put up and security was improved, there would be a drive to make it a safe public place for birders, runners, cyclists, walkers and others.

DA councillor Martin Meyer said the fence issue had to first go to council and then to tender.

“But the department (of parks and recreation) is trying to make it happen as fast as possible.

“They have found the money, so now they need permission.

“They will try for a Section 36 (allowing for deviation from normal tender processes in the awarding of contracts in situations deemed to be emergencies), it seems,” said Meyer.

The city was unable to confirm this at the time of going to press.

Friends of Milliken remain furious that police took so long to go to Burman Bush after Milliken’s friend reported that they had both been attacked.

He managed to escape and report the matter to the police, who took close to an hour before they got to the scene. They could not find Milliken. His body was found a day after - after walkers stumbled upon it.

One of his friends and fellow orchestra members wrote: “The way Simon left this world is unspeakable.

“That this man who would not harm any living being had to suffer such a cruel end in the nature he so treasured sends a double-edged sword straight through the heart of all of us who knew him.”