Piet Botha was born in 1955 and shares his birth date of 18th July with Nelson Mandela. He began writing songs and forming bands while still at school and his first professional gig was as an acoustic duo in 1974 at a local drinking hole in Pretoria.
Piet Botha is the son of the former South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Pik Botha (not to be confused with P.W. Botha). Pik Botha who served during the last years of the apartheid era was considered to be a liberal, at least in comparison to others in the ruling National Party and among the Afrikaner community at the time.
From 1981 to 1983 Piet Botha was involved with Wildebeest which was one of the first bands to mix rock music with Afrikaans lyrics and recorded ‘Bossies’, a song about the South West African / Angolan Border War, which was very much a no-no during those Apartheid times.
In 1984 he co-founded the Blues Rock group Jack Hammer which is more than just a band, it is a collective of musicians that has somehow survived the strange machinery that is the South African music industry and produced some sterling original albums over the years. Since their first performance the one constant factor in the band has been the man affectionately known as “Hammer”, Piet Botha.
During 1985, Piet Botha lived in Los Angeles, working construction, and other immigrant jobs by day, and writing and recording by night.
During the 1990’s Jack Hammer opened for Deep Purple and Uriah Heep on their “Masters of Rock” tour and were also privileged to be the supporting act for ZZ Top (one of Botha’s prime influences) on their South African tour...