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 last week.

DURBAN - Former KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra musician Simon Milliken who died tragically after he was stabbed to death at Burman Bush Nature Reserve has been described as an adventurer and a wildlife protector by his UK-based brother.

His younger brother Jonathan, who lives in Hampshire, said they grew up together in Hampshire in Southern England. Despite living continents apart, they remained close.

“We have always been close, sharing similar interests and talking frequently to hear each other’s news. Simon visited the UK most years and I went on several trips with him in Southern Africa,” he said.

Milliken said his brother was captivated by South Africa. He said Simon’s choice to continue living on the continent was of no surprise to him.

“He was captivated by the landscape, people and wildlife. He made his mark in many circles, not because of his own self-interest but through a genuine desire to protect wildlife and to engage with the people around him, whoever they were,” he said.

Milliken said numerous people told him that Simon was the first person to welcome them when they joined the orchestra and always offered to show them the special place he had discovered and shared his love of nature.  

Visiting conductor, Perry So, who was with Simon when they were approached by a man in the reserve on the deadly Friday afternoon told him that Simon had offered a friendship that he rarely comes across in his travels around the world.  

“In only a short time Perry had been on several bird-watching trips with Simon and was clearly pleased that he had been given a chance to leave the city and enjoy the wild places that Simon knew so well”.

Milliken said Simon would help anyone whoever they might be and would always confront inequality and injustice.  

“All those that knew him tell me that he was unceasingly authentic, caring, fascinating,  willing to share his knowledge and always a true friend”.

Milliken said he was saddened that in other circumstances Simon would have been the first to befriend and help the man that harmed him.  

“We will miss him desperately.  He was a good, kind loving brother and son to his mother. I am comforted to know that he was so loved by so many.  It was a life well-lived,” Milliken said.

Simon died at the age of 60.

Police are yet to make any arrests.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE