Sadly, Bala, who was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 2010, and then with cancer in 2013, lost his brave battle for life on Monday morning.
Bala was a socialite and co-founder of the flamboyant ‘bubblegum pop’ group, 3sum with Jeff Moyo and Amstel Maboa, of which Maboa is the only surviving member.
Longtime friends of Bala, Maboa and designer Ephraim Molingoana are devastated by the loss. They shared some of their best moments and what they’ll miss most about him with us.
Maboa said: “There are so many amazing moments we’ve shared, I don’t even know where to start. Koyo was always happy, full of life and a true soldier. He was a hustler, he always made things happen.
“I’m grateful for the last days he was with me. We went to the Metro FM Awards together last weekend, and I’m telling you, he was energetic, the life of the party and like a comedian.”
“If Koyo’s death has taught me anything, it would be that we have to live life to the fullest, the next day is not guaranteed. We must treat each and every moment as special, whether good or bad. When we are no more, we are no more. Accept life the way it is, find happiness in whatever you can. Mostly we focus on the material things, but life happens when we live and when we breathe. Make the most of it.”
“Koyo was strong and now that he’s gone, I can honestly say it feels as if the right side of me has gone with him.”
Designer Ephraim Molingoana believes that the time he spent with Bala yesterday was preparation for this moment. “I was him with him yesterday until midday, just before he flew down to Cape Town. He just looked at me and said ‘I love you friend’, and I said ‘I love you too’.
“He added: ‘I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me’, and I just said, ‘aah come on you’re not going anywhere. Go home, I’ll see you again in two weeks’. He just held my hand and I told him to be strong.
“Everyone knows he was the most humble, down-to-earth person. He loved people and wanted everyone to be happy around him. He never tried hard to fit in, he just wanted to be there and be appreciated,” says Molingoana.
“I’ll miss his cooking the most. Yeah, he was a great cook and an amazing host. When we went down to Cape Town in December, we were planning to stay in a hotel, and he said: ‘No you always come to my mother’s house, why are you staying in a hotel?’
“I’m glad I got to see him for the few hours yesterday; we really connected – a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.
“When I saw him yesterday, I could see that he was in a lot of pain, I couldn’t hold back. But still he came to see me. From a Christian point of view, I feel like he could see his way,” Molingoana adds.
Bala’s Instagram profile shows just why he was loved by one and all. We’ve gathered a few of his best moments with friends and colleagues:
Many celebs have taken to social media to express their shock at Bala’s death and to pass on their condolences: